Seven months after receiving the redacted, incomplete version of the report prepared by the special counsel’s office, the House is finally going to be able to see the full report—and the supporting materials. Not only that, but Republican arguments that the impeachment inquiry isn’t “real” or needs a full House vote just got kicked to the curb, because Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Beryl Howell has just ruled that the House has done everything necessary to have the full authority of impeachment proceedings.
As Politico reports, the memorandum that accompanies the ruling leaves absolutely no doubt about the scope of this decision. “Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry.”
The immediate ruling provides access to all Mueller investigation materials—that’s all redacted portions of the report, all transcripts of testimony to the special counsel, and all requested grand jury materials. Everything. Howell’s ruling destroys both William Barr’s efforts to hide the report behind executive privilege and Republican claims that the House is not actually conducting an impeachment. Expect this ruling to immediately be cited in requests for additional documents from White House, Office of Management and Budget, and Defense Department officials who denied requests with statements that the House lacked authority.
This is a huge ruling, both in terms of finally revealing the actual special counsel report and in terms of what it means for the impeachment inquiry going forward. And as a side benefit, it throws wads of sand on Lindsey Graham and every other Republican attempting to make a process argument on the basis of … nothing, really.