‘Literally Relitigating Watergate’: Trump DOJ Argues Court Was Wrong to Hand Over Grand Jury Material in Nixon Impeachment Inquiry

Lawyers for the Trump Justice Department stunned a federal judge Tuesday by arguing courts in 1974 were wrong to approve the release of Watergate documents to Congress during the impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon.

According to Politico‘s Darren Samuelsohn, Justice Department attorney Elizabeth Shapiro said during a hearing that if the Watergate case came before the court today, there would be a “different result.”

“Wow, okay,” responded U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell. “The department is taking an extraordinary position in this case.”


The exchange came during arguments on the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for the grand jury evidence behind former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Observers on social media echoed Judge Howell’s stunned reaction to the Justice Department’s argument.

“You know you’re on the wrong side of history—and the law—when you’re arguing that Nixon turned over too many documents,” tweeted Chris Yu, fellow at the Miller Center.

Others piled on:



Politico reported that attorneys for the Justice Department said House Democrats “should be denied access to the Mueller grand jury materials, arguing that a congressional impeachment proceeding doesn’t meet the criteria to release them.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement following Tuesday’s hearing that he is “confident” in Democrats’ case.

“We are gratified at the seriousness with which the court addressed our petition for grand jury information relating to the House impeachment inquiry,” said Nadler. “We remain confident in our case and look forward to the resolution of this matter.”

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3 Comments on "‘Literally Relitigating Watergate’: Trump DOJ Argues Court Was Wrong to Hand Over Grand Jury Material in Nixon Impeachment Inquiry"

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Alfred Higgins
Alfred Higgins

The only thing that Republicans learned from the Watergate affair is that Nixon didn’t stonewall nearly enough, and surely didn’t destroy enough evidence. They are now working feverishly to make good on those deficiencies.


Paleeeaaassseee, maybe dog ate the evidence, might just as well they are blaming everyone else

chris whitley
chris whitley
Well I am trying to figure this out. The republicans are saying that because court released the grand jury evidence that was what got Nixon. I was around then and like trump everyone knew he did it. And if I remember right it never went to trial he resigned first. Of course trump is a moron and not smart enough to resign. I think that trump needs to fire his legal team and hire a kindergartener class. After the letter to Pelosi yesterday and this moronic crap 💩 today. I had a thought. Probably kids are setting him up for… Read more »