Oral arguments in the DC Court of Appeals for the House Judiciary Committee to obtain Mueller’s grand jury information, are scheduled for January 3rd, 2020. The HJC is leveraging the Senate impeachment trial in their arguments to gain access to the Mueller material. This approach is by design.
With that in mind it seems likely any House impeachment articles will not be delivered to the Senate until after the DC court arguments, and likely not before the ruling:
In addition to the Mueller evidence, the HJC is seeking judicial enforcement authority to force the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn. Both HJC appeals court arguments are using the Senate trial to bolster their case.
The rushed House articles were/are a means to an end. That is – a way for House lawyers to argue in court all of the constitutionally contended material is required as evidence for pending judicial proceedings, a trial in the Senate.
This would explain why all the prior evidence debated for inclusion and legal additions to “articles of impeachment” were dropped. Instead the House focused only on quickly framing two articles that could facilitate two pending court cases.
As interested observers will note the House never voted to authorize the full judicial impeachment process; instead they voted to approve an inquiry into whether an impeachment should take place. By not voting to authorize articles of impeachment the House never gained ‘judicial enforcement authority‘.
What the house crew have assembled is an interesting back-door attempt to position a valid claim for evidence against the accused without having first gained judicial authority for it. The HJC is now arguing to appeals courts, and likely to SCOTUS, the blocked evidentiary material is critical evidence in a soon-to-be-held Senate trial.
The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) led by Chairman Jerry Nadler has been seeking: (1) Mueller grand jury material; (2) a deposition by former White House counsel Don McGahn; and less importantly (3) Trump financial and tax records. Each of these issues is currently being argued. [The supreme court will hear financials/taxes in April].
House counsel Doug Letter responded to the DC Appeals Court arguing the forced testimony of White House counsel Don McGahn is needed for evidence in the impeachment trial. [Court pdf Avail Here] And the grand jury material is needed to highlight the second article, Obstruction of Congress [Court pdf Avail Here]
Looking at the legal maneuvers from that perspective means the grand jury material is the unspoken goal and impeachment is simply the enhanced means to obtain it.
The 6(e) material relates to evidence gathered by the Mueller team for grand jury proceedings in their two-year effort to construct a case against President Trump.
Remember, the Mueller evidence was gathered during a counterintelligence investigation, which means all things Trump -including his family and business interests- were subject to unbridled surveillance for two years; and a host of intelligence gathering going back in time indefinitely. A goldmine of political opposition research.
Obviously if Jerry Nadler could get his hands on this material it would quickly find its way into the DNC, and ultimately to the 2020 democrat candidate for president. This material would also be fuel for a year of leaks to DC media who could exploit rumor, supposition, and drops of information that Andrew Weissmann and team left to be discovered.
The oral arguments are next Friday, January 3rd, 2020.
Full HJC Brief Here