Philip Allen Lacovara and Laurence H. Tribe’s April 9 Tuesday Opinion essay, “Want the full Mueller report? Open impeachment hearings.,” claimed that no exception to Rule 6(e) allows release of grand jury material to the House Judiciary Committee as long as the House speaker disapproves inquiry into President Trump’s possible impeachment. We disagree.
Rule 6(e) was amended in 2002 to permit “an attorney for the government [to] . . . disclose any grand-jury matter involving . . . a threat of attack or other grave hostile acts of a foreign power . . . to any appropriate federal . . . official, for the purpose of preventing or responding to such threat or activities.”
This exception allows transmission by a government attorney, without court intervention, of the Mueller report and its underlying evidence to the House committee. The attorney general is “an attorney for the government.” Any Russian meddling in our 2016 elections and beyond involves “grave hostile acts of a foreign power.” Any attempted coverup of Russian meddling “involves” the meddling and thus also falls within the exception. Members of the House committee are “appropriate federal officials” to receive grand jury material given their responsibility to “prevent or respond to” the Russian meddling and any coverup thereof through the committee’s historical jurisdiction over impeachment of federal officials and civil and criminal proceedings generally.
Grand jury secrecy is a nonissue in this case and should not stand in the way of disclosure of the full Mueller report and its underlying evidence to the House Judiciary Committee.
Gerald Goldman, Washington
Jill Wine-Banks, Evanston, Ill.
The writers served as assistant Watergate special prosecutors.