Earlier this week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller won his long-running and highly secretive U.S. Court of Appeals battle. The court ruled that a still-unidentified company, owned by a foreign government, must comply with Mueller’s subpoena. Even as observers try to find clues for narrowing down its identity, the company is now formally responding in court.
The mystery company just filed a nearly four thousand word motion with the same U.S. Court of Appeals that just finished ruling against it, according to Politico reporter Darren Samuelsohn. We can’t tell you what’s in the motion, because – like everything else about this case – it’s under seal. But this may tell us something about what the company is trying to do here, and where this is headed next.
The sheer length of the filing means that it’s something substantive, and not merely a post-ruling formality. Palmer Report has spoken with a legal expert who believes the next logical step would be for the company to request an en banc ruling. This would involve every judge in the building hearing the case, all at once, as opposed to the three judges currently involved. That would be, of course, with the exception of the one judge who has already recused himself because he previously did some legal work for Trump’s White House before being appointed.
If nothing else, this means the company isn’t trying to take this matter directly to the Supreme Court. One possible reason could be that the company doesn’t think the Supreme Court would be willing to hear the case, as it only takes on a tiny fraction of the requests that are sent its way. So if the U.S. Court of Appeals denies the apparent request for an en banc hearing, this could end abruptly – and Mueller could soon get the evidence he’s subpoenaed, which presumably consists of documents that incriminate Donald Trump. Interestingly, the judges have issued an almost immediate response to the filing, though that’s sealed as well.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report