In this April 18, 2019, file photo, a sign for the Department of Justice hangs in the press briefing room at the Justice Department in Washington. Credit: Patrick Semansky | AP

The Justice Department has appealed a federal judge’s order to release certain grand jury materials from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation to the House Judiciary Committee by Wednesday, asking a court to stay its demand to disclose materials pending appeal.

The department said in a court filing Monday morning that it would be “irreparably harmed” without a stay. “Once the information is disclosed, it cannot be recalled, and the confidentiality of the grand jury information will be lost for all time,” it argued.

In a 75-page opinion Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell of Washington handed a victory to House Democrats, saying the House was legally engaged in a judicial process that exempts Congress from normal grand jury secrecy rules.

But Justice Department attorneys noted that Howell herself in arguments referred to her court as “a speed bump on the way to the Circuit for review.” The attorneys said they would file an expedited appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.