A U.S. judge has ordered the Justice Department to provide secret grand jury testimony from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to a congressional committee as lawmakers gather evidence for the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The October 25 ruling also affirmed the legality of the impeachment inquiry, with U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordering the Justice Department to turn over the materials to the House Judiciary Committee by October 30.
The Justice Department said it was reviewing the decision, and the Trump administration was expected to appeal.
The ruling is seen as a victory for Democrats, who are gathering closed-door testimony from current and former U.S. government officials about the administration’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said the ruling was "another blow to President Trump's attempt to put himself above the law.”
The material could reveal previously hidden details about Trump’s actions during the 2016 election campaign and become part of the effort by Democrats to impeach him.
Congress so far has only received redacted information from Mueller’s report.
The report did not find sufficient evidence to establish that there was a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election campaign team.
But Mueller’s investigation also examined potential misconduct by Trump in attempting to impede the investigation and determined that Trump could not be exonerated on obstruction of justice allegations.