- The Washington Times
Friday, November 20, 2020

The Supreme Court has removed from its calendar oral arguments in a closely watched dispute over access to secret grand jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-collusion probe.

The move came shortly after the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee asked the Supreme Court to delay oral arguments in the case, citing presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s election victory and the start of a new Congress in January.

Oral arguments were initially scheduled for Dec. 2, but as of Friday no longer appear on the Supreme Court’s calendar. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the arguments will be rescheduled for a later date or have been dropped altogether.

A Supreme Court spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

Lawyers for House Democrats last week asked the court to push back oral arguments because it “would be in the best interest of the parties and the court and may conserve judicial resources.”

In a filing, House counsel Doug Letter said the committee’s investigations into President Trump remain ongoing but asked to delay oral arguments so the “newly constituted committee” can decide whether it still wants to pursue the Mueller documents.

The Justice Department, which is representing the Trump administration, said in a filing Thursday that it did not oppose the panel’s request for a delay.

The grand jury materials could shed new light on Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and Mr. Trump’s response to the probe. Several top Trump aides testified before Mr. Mueller’s grand jury, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to media reports.

Democrats had initially sought the material in 2019 as part of its investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed the Mueller probe. A 448-page report issued by Mr. Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president’s efforts to fire him amounted to obstruction.

A federal appeals court had ordered the materials to be turned over, but the Supreme Court earlier this year blocked that.

The Justice Department has insisted that federal law lets grand-jury material be released only as part of a court proceeding. Democrats claimed the materials could be used in a Senate impeachment trial, which has akin to a court proceeding.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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