Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said he didn’t agree with the decision by a federal judge to order the release of grand jury material to House Democrats in the impeachment inquiry of Republican President Donald Trump.
“This ruling is dangerous for every American. The grand jury secrecy rules exist to protect innocent people against public disclosure of information and hearsay that could unfairly harm them,” Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.
“When we’re considering removing a democratically elected president, our best yardstick is historical experience, and this decision ignores that experience while failing to answer the crucial question of when this supposed ‘impeachment inquiry’ actually began. I look forward to an expeditious appeal.”
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, appointed by President Barack Obama, ruled on Oct. 15 that the Department of Justice has to turn over grand jury material from special counsel Robert Mueller’s case to House Democrats.
The department had argued that existing law barred disclosure of the information to Congress. Democrats sought the material as part of their inquiry into Trump.
While Collins castigated the ruling, Democrat leaders celebrated it.
“I am gratified that the federal district court has ordered that the Special Counsel’s grand jury information must be turned over to the House’s impeachment inquiry. The court’s thoughtful ruling recognizes that our impeachment inquiry fully comports with the Constitution and thoroughly rejects the spurious White House claims to the contrary. This grand jury information that the Administration has tried to block the House from seeing will be critical to our work,” House Judiciary Chairman Jarrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
“This critical court ruling affirms Congress’s authority to expose the truth for the American people. Most importantly, the Court recognized the House’s right to obtain grand jury information pursuant to its impeachment inquiry,” added House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
As the Judge writes, ‘Tipping the scale even further toward disclosure is the public’s interest in a diligent and thorough investigation into, and in a final determination about, potentially impeachable conduct by the President described in the Mueller Report.’”