Are you Ranters familiar with a mysterious grand jury subpoena case has been working itself through the D.C. courts since August?
Some have speculated that the secret subpoena battle might be President Donald Trump himself. Speculation heightened two weeks ago when the D.C. Circuit cleared an entire floor of reporters assembled for the oral argument, in order to protect the identity of the litigants.
Four days later, the D.C. Circuit judges burst the speculative bubble with a decision that halfway revealed the identity of the party litigating against the government: not Trump, but an unnamed corporation (“the Corporation”) owned by an unnamed foreign state (“Country A”). The evident fact that Trump was not directly involved in the litigation seemingly drained further proceedings of direct suspense.
(But wait! There's more!
Then on the Sunday before Christmas, Chief Justice John Roberts personally intervened in this matter.
The chief justice blocked the District Court’s order requiring the foreign corporation to comply with the grand jury subpoena, until the government’s lawyers could respond to the Corporation’s briefings.
Robert's decision revealed that a regulator from Country A had filed a submission claiming that compliance with the subpoena would cause the Corporation to violate Country A’s law. So whoever Country A is, this matter captured its officials’ attention and prompted them to send filings to a faraway country to block the subpoena. Why does Country A care? And, what is it trying to hide?
The state-owned Corporation filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which receives roughly 7,000 petitions a year but acts in fewer than 200 of them. There was unanimity below - all four judges (the District Court judge and the three Circuit Court judges) had agreed that the Corporation and Country A’s legal claims of sovereign immunity and of contrary foreign law were without merit.
Roberts evidently harbors some doubt about the lower court's decision. Something in the Corporation’s papers caught his attention. So rather than consigning this appeal to the discard pile with thousands of others, he has blocked the lower courts’ decisions until he can receive the government’s briefs defending those decisions. Those papers were to be filed no later than New Year’s Eve.
Speculation A: It is the Russian oil company Rosneft Oil where Trump was given a percentage of ownership for his assist in addressing the sanctions Obama placed on the Russians, per the Steele Dossier.
Speculation B: I don't have one. SEE: Speculation A