Hope and change, baby!
The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee is requesting the Supreme Court delay oral arguments in a closely watched dispute over the disclosure of secret grand jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, citing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump and the start of a new Congress in January.
Lawyers for House Democrats asked the court in a filing Tuesday to remove the case from its December 2020 argument calendar, as pushing back the oral argument currently set for December 2 “would be in the best interest of the parties and the court and may conserve judicial resources.”
“The committee’s investigations into misconduct by President Trump, oversight of agency activities during the Trump administration, and consideration of related legislative reforms have remained ongoing. But a new Congress will convene in the first week of January 2021, and President-elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021,” House lawyers wrote. “Once those events occur, the newly constituted committee will have to determine whether it wishes to continue pursuing the application for the grand-jury materials that gave rise to this case.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney makes the obvious observation:
The filing suggests the House is broadly reconsidering its posture toward Trump-era investigations in light of Biden’s election victory. The House is also in court attempting to obtain Trump’s financial records and tax returns and to force his former White House counsel Don McGahn — a star witness in Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation — to testify.
An aide to Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler told POLITICO recently that Nadler intends to pursue the McGahn deposition even after Trump leaves office as part of an effort to implement protections from political interference in the Justice Department.
But the Judiciary Committee’s effort to obtain Mueller’s grand jury information is one of the House’s longest continuing legal actions of the Trump era.
I wouldn’t bet the house on Democrats attempting to bet the House on this nonsense. They ran a 2020 campaign that was basically all about Trump, which succeeded in getting rid of their bete noire but resulted in losses down the ballot otherwise. They will barely have a House majority in January and almost certainly won’t control the Senate, all while Joe Biden will have a deep need to start scoring some legislative wins right off the bat. As both Allahpundit and I have argued the past day or so, Democrats aren’t going to win points with Republicans beating the same dead horse that lost them credibility with voters in the first place.
Perhaps House Democrats might wait to see whether Biden will vacate the lawsuit first. That might be the case, but it seems very doubtful that Biden will want to set that kind of a precedent at the beginning of a presidency. There are solid reasons for Biden to value the buffers between co-equal branches of government, not the least of which are Republican chances of gaining control of the whole legislative branch in the 2022 midterms.
Besides, what are they going to find that Mueller didn’t? This has always been a fishing expedition, hoping to catch something to boost their chances of beating Trump in 2020. Mission accomplished, even if it turned out to damage their longer-term prospects along the way. Nadler and Adam Schiff might still obsess over this, but the rest of their caucus will worry more about 2022 than 2016.