Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked the release of grand jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency order granting the Justice Department's appeal of a federal court's ruling that the agency must release the Mueller report materials to the House judiciary committee.
"The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay pending appeal and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion," the court said.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered the Justice Department to release to the judiciary committee portions of the Mueller report that were redacted to protect grand jury secrecy.
Howell wrote that the committee had shown it needs the grand jury material "to avoid a possible injustice in the impeachment inquiry."
The Justice Department filed an appeal on Monday, stating the agency would be "irreparably harmed" if the grand jury material is turned over to the House.
"Once the information is disclosed, it cannot be recalled and the confidentiality of the grand jury information will be lost for all time -- particularly if the (House panel) decides to publicize the now-secret ... materials," the government said.