An attorney representing the Department of Justice on Tuesday left a federal judge stunned after they argued courts may have been wrong to hand over Watergate documents to Congress in 1974.
As reported by Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn, DOJ attorney Elizabeth Shapiro argued that Congress is not within its rights to demand grand jury information from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Chief United States District Judge Beryl Howell pressed Shapiro over whether she also believed it was wrong for courts to force the release of Watergate grand jury materials to Congress during the impeachment inquiry for former President Richard Nixon.
“Shapiro at first said it was ‘impossible to say’ what happened in 1974 was wrong,” Samuelsohn reports. “Shapiro then said if the same Watergate road map case came today there’d be a ‘different result’ because the law has changed since 1974. She said the judge wouldn’t be able to do the same thing absent changes to the grand jury rules and statutes.”
“Wow, okay,” Howell replied, according to Samuelsohn. “As I said, the Department is taking an extraordinary position.”
Howell, "As I said the department is taking an extraordinary position." Shapiro replies, "I don't think it's that extraordinary, your honor."
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) October 8, 2019