The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday posted an unsealed court ruling that rejected a challenge to a grand jury subpoena issued by the special counsel, Robert Mueller III.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wrote: “The witness raises legitimate questions, but his concerns are not legally sustainable. The scope of the Special Counsel’s power falls well within the boundaries the Constitution permits, as the Special Counsel is supervised by an official who is himself accountable to the elected president.”
The name of the witness who challenged the subpoenas was not revealed. CNN and the Washington Post earlier Thursday identified the witness as Andrew Miller, a former aide to Trump confidant Roger Stone. Paul Kamenar, a lawyer for Miller, told the Post: “We’re disappointed with the court’s ruling. But obviously the judge took our challenge to Mueller’s constitutionality seriously, as evidenced by the 93-page opinion.”
The subpoenas require testimony and documents. Howell’s ruling, dated July 31, orders the witness to appear before the grand jury and provide testimony “at the earliest date available to the grand jury, and to complete production of the subpoenaed records promptly.”
The 93-page opinion recounts the appointment of Mueller to lead the Russia investigation and discusses the history of special counsel regulations. Howell, the chief judge of Washington’s federal trial court, has been called on previously to resolve disputes arising in the Mueller investigation.
Unidentified lawyers for the witness argued in part that Mueller lacked authority to issue the subpoenas because his appointment violated the Constitution’s appointments clause. Howell’s ruling addresses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated the administrative law judges of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Howell’s ruling is posted in full below: