By Tammy Kupperman, Joan Biskupic, Ariane de Vogue and Manu Raju, CNN
Updated 5:13 PM ET, Fri October 25, 2019
Washington (CNN) A federal judge on Friday gave a legal endorsement to the House Democrats’ impeachment probe into President Donald Trump and ordered the Justice Department to release grand jury information redacted from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The ruling is a blow to the Trump administration’s claims that the House is not conducting a valid impeachment inquiry since there’s been no formal vote to authorize the probe.
In a lengthy opinion, Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court in Washington, DC, said the House clearly is conducting an impeachment inquiry.
“(A)n impeachment trial is an exercise of judicial power,” Howell wrote. “Contrary to (the Justice Department’s) position — and as historical practice, the Federalist Papers, the text of the Constitution, and Supreme Court precedent all make clear — impeachment trials are judicial in nature and constitute judicial proceedings.”
The House Judiciary Committee had gone to court seeking information in the Mueller report that is redacted because it came from secret grand jury proceedings.