A court battle that began in the aftermath of Robert Mueller’s probe has finally come to an end — and the results aren’t what conservatives were hoping for.
According to The New York Times, D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled on Friday that House Democrats are indeed engaged in a legal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
A temporary victory for Dems
The ruling means, according to the Times, that lawmakers will be “entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel.”
The Times noted that members of Congress generally can’t see such evidence, “but in 1974, the courts permitted lawmakers to see such materials as they weighed whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon.”
Now, Judge Howell has ruled that Dems are in the middle of the same situation with President Trump.
For their part, the president and his allies have maintained that the impeachment process doesn’t officially start until the House brings the measure to a floor vote. The impeachments of both Nixon and former President Bill Clinton began with such a vote.
But Democrats have said the Constitution doesn’t require a full floor vote, nor do House rules. For that reason, they say Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) sudden, unilateral push for impeachment in September was totally legitimate.
And Judge Howell agreed.
“Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry,” the judge wrote in a lengthy 75-page opinion.
According to the Times, the Trump administration is likely to appeal the ruling, and a spokeswoman told the paper that the Department of Justice is currently reviewing the matter.
Meanwhile, the White House has taken to fighting the impeachment at the committee level, ignoring subpoenas and blocking officials from testifying.
President Trump himself has also fought back on Twitter, calling the Dems’ efforts to oust him a “scam” and a “witch hunt.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2019