The impeachment inquiry is legitimate even without a vote of the full House, a federal judge ruled Friday, and the Justice Department must turn over evidence from Robert Mueller's investigation to accommodate it. "Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry," Judge Beryl Howell said, Politico reports. Republicans had argued that any inquiry into impeaching President Trump required a formal vote of the House. "These contentions are, at worst, red herrings and, at best, incorrect," said Howell, the chief federal judge in Washington. She was appointed by former President Barack Obama.
Howell gave the Justice Department until Wednesday to release some of the redacted portions of Muller's final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, per the Washington Post. The House Judiciary Committee sued over the material in July. The Justice Department said Friday that it was reviewing Howell's ruling. Jerry Nadler, Judiciary chairman, said, "The court’s thoughtful ruling recognizes that our impeachment inquiry fully comports with the Constitution and thoroughly rejects the spurious White House claims to the contrary." (Lindsey Graham's resolution condemned the investigation as "illegitimate impeachment inquiry.")