Nadler Does His Job

Today, Congressmember Nadler on behalf of the House Judiciary Committee filed a petition seeking release of the grand jury materials that were redacted from the Mueller Report. The petition argues that providing otherwise secret grand jury materials is authorized under the rule of criminal procedure that permits disclosure that is “preliminary to a judicial proceeding.” What proceeding? Read my lips: an “investigation regarding impeachment.”

Game on.

In a footnote the petition also states that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI – Schiff’s committee) “is investigating the counterintelligence risks arising from efforts by Russia and other foreign powers to influence the U.S. political process during and since the 2016 election, including links and contacts between individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and the Russian government.” Evidence obtained through HPSCI’s investigation, presumably including the grand jury materials if the court will release them, will “further inform the Judiciary Committee’s consideration of whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President.”

The 53-page petition reads partly like a technical legal brief, partly like a press release (and was accompanied by a news conference by Nadler and other Dem members of the Judiciary Committee), all but announcing that his committee had no intention of waiting for the House to adopt a resolution of impeachment before conducting proceedings, and that “facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House” could “set[ ] an impeachment in motion.” (citing Jefferson’s Manual) (yes, that Jefferson). I gather that Speaker Pelosi and he worked out the exact wording of the stand-up presser, but the meaning in the petition is clear.

The kicker for the Tweeter-in-Chief is saved for last: “More broadly, the President has commented extensively about the Special Counsel’s underlying investigation, including by denying critical events described in the Mueller Report…. Grand jury secrecy is not unyielding when there is no secrecy left to protect.”

PS Although I haven’t posted here in a long while, until Mark’s recent passing I had taken to occasionally sending him source documents on legal matters of mutual interest. He relished cutting through the legal gobbledygook and tweeting out quotes and links within minutes. This one’s for him.

Author: Lesley Rosenthal

LESLEY ROSENTHAL teaches, writes, and talks incessantly about the law. She has developed a curriculum called Advocating for the Rule of Law: A Practical Approach, and she has designed and conducted workshops for artists, lawyers, writers, and others seeking to learn more about how to activate democracy. She is the Chief Operating Officer & Corporate Secretary of The Juilliard School and the author of Good Counsel: Meeting the Legal Needs of Nonprofits (Wiley 2012). Ms. Rosenthal holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Harvard College. She is president of the New York Bar Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook @GoodCounselBook and @LetUSROL

2 thoughts on “Nadler Does His Job”

  1. As I understand it, the framing concept of a counterintelligence investigation is not criminal conspiracy but national security risk. You can become the latter by stupidity and carelessness: sharing secrets with your mistress (Petraeus), tweeting material allowing covert agents to be identified, giving information to a foreign intelligence agent facilitating a hack to manipulate an election, and so on. Actions of this type could become “high misdemeanours” in charges of impeachment. It’s not all about provable crimes like obstruction of justice. Further, the standard of proof is surely the balance of probabilities, maybe a strong balance, not beyond reasonable doubt.

    1. Agreed; and therefore important symbolically that this is not just on behalf of Judiciary Ctee but House Intel as well. Moreover, even if the court declines to release all of the material requested, I see enormous benefit to the body politic to hearing in daily detail whatever evidence is available to the Committees about the ongoing Russian campaign to interfere with US elections and sow social discord, the Trump campaign’s embrace of the help, and the administration’s efforts to cover it up.

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