Amid a debate about the release of grand jury information from special counsel Robert Mueller's report, Republicans have issued an ultimatum: impeach President Donald Trump if you want to see the report.
Politico reported that in the wake of a federal appeals court decision Friday that ruled grand jury information can only be released via formal changes to the law, the GOP is now playing hardball with Democrats seeking to get information from Mueller's top-secret grand jury.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are telling their Democrat colleagues that only "judicial proceedings" — ie, impeachment — will result in them getting the Mueller grand jury details.
Democrats, in turn, are pushing back.
"No court, including the D.C. Circuit in this morning’s case has ever held that Congress must be in an impeachment proceeding in order to access grand jury materials," a counsel for Judiciary Committee Democrats told Politico.
"I can understand why Republicans would like to interpret this morning’s decision as cutting off all access by Congress to these materials," the counsel added. "There’s probably something very damaging to the president there."
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the chairman of the panel, argued that Congress got access to grand jury information during independent counsel Ken Starr's investigation into President Bill Clinton.
Julian Epstein, the committee's chief counsel during the Starr investigation, added that "as a legal matter, the Judiciary Committee has always had access to grand jury material involving questions of presidential misconduct.
"I can’t imagine the courts ultimately deciding otherwise in this case," Epstein added.