Washington (CNN) – The House of Representatives is now investigating whether President Donald Trump lied to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller in the written responses he provided in the Russian investigation, the House’s attorney general said Monday in federal court.
“Did the president lie? Was the president not sincere in his responses to Mueller's investigation? ”The House's attorney general, Douglas Letter, told the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit why the House now needs access to the grand jury material that Mueller collected in his investigation.
The House's arguments on Monday focus on whether Trump had lied to Mueller after public revelations at Roger Stone's trial this month.RELATED
Former Trump campaign vice president Rick Gates testified that Trump and Stone talked about the information that would come that could help the campaign in mid-2016, at a time when Stone was trying to get secret details about the stolen Democratic documents that WikiLeaks had.
Trump's former president Paul Manafort also apparently told Mueller's grand jury what Trump's approach to WikiLeaks had been in 2016, according to Mueller's report.
But Trump told Mueller in his written statements that he didn't remember discussing WikiLeaks with Stone.
Gates' testimony adds more importance to the desire of Congress to see the edited material.
The question of whether Trump obstructed justice, including the possible lie to Mueller, has for months been part of the House's Judicial Committee's broader review of the possible obstruction following Mueller's report. The Chamber previously reviewed most of what Mueller had written in its final report, including parts hidden from the public.
But the Chamber has not been able to see what Manafort told the grand jury, which Mueller apparently described in his report. In Mueller's report, the grand jury's details are written in connection with a sentence describing Manafort speaking with Trump after the first release of WikiLeaks in July 2016.
The Manafort situation "shows so clearly that there is evidence, very sadly, that the President could have provided false answers and this is a key part of the political trial investigation," Letter said Monday in the final words of his arguments to Appeal panel of three judges.
Judge Judith Rogers on Monday expressed skepticism about the reasoning of the Department of Justice to withhold information from Manafort of the House now.
“Why would the department not be in favor of giving this information because it could possibly prove that it did nothing wrong? The Chamber would not want to return a charge where the evidence does not support it, ”he said of the political trial investigation. Another judge on the panel, Thomas Griffith, asked why the House needed the information. And the third judge, Neomi Rao, whom Trump appointed, asked if the courts should participate in the disclosure of information to the House that could influence an investigation of political trial.
The judicial case revolves around the federal investigation information that the Chamber should be able to access during the recall and what federal courts can do in a dispute between the Chamber and the executive branch.
This story has been updated with additional information from the audience.