For months, those who have been following the ins and outs of Robert Mueller’s special counsel witch hunt into non-existent collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia have been obsessed with uncovering the ‘anonymous company’ that dared to defy a special counsel subpoena.
We still don’t know who they are but we do know they aren’t in trouble anymore, for allegedly sitting on evidence. As CNN reports:
“[The company] appears to be off the hook, while prosecutors continue to put significant resources into investigating what Robert Mueller pursued related to the company.”
Recently unsealed documents filed with the DC District Court shed new light on the controversy and provide a few more clues to the organization’s identity.
In February, the unnamed company turned over nearly 1,000 pages of records, prompting Federal Judge Beryl Howell to discontinue the $50,000 per day fines that she previously slapped on them for allegedly withholding relevant evidence from the court.
The freshly released records now show that she also decided on April 17 that the company “was no longer in contempt.”
It remains unclear how much the company actually did pay in fines but the documents do provide a few breadcrumbs to follow toward unmasking the corporation’s identity.
After exhausting their appeals on the matter, roughly 950 pages were provided to Mueller’s investigators in two separate batches and many of the records submitted had to be translated into English. This clearly indicates that they weren’t prepared in an English-speaking country.
The company’s attorneys wrote that they had “gone to great lengths to find and voluntarily produce documents responsive to the subpoena.”
Attorney Brian Boone also argued in court that “Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak — they started their billion-dollar businesses in garages. So it’s not so strange to think about it in those terms.” Analysts seem to think that the phrasing indicates that “the records the company gave Mueller might not be complete because the company was fledgling in recent years.”
Even so, Mueller’s prosecutors continued to demand more records, begging the Judge to first double, then triple the fines. At one point the company was looking at a whopping $300,000 per day penalty, since, “the government is not currently confident that [REDACTED NAME] has fully complied.”
For their part, the company said they couldn’t turn over what they didn’t have.
“[the company] even retraced its steps … to make sure that nothing fell through the cracks. What more could the Special Counsel want?”
Nobody is sure if there was any particular reason that the order dropping the compliance fines came only a single day before the redacted version of Mueller’s final report was released by the Department of Justice.
Court documents in the case, that have already seen the light of day, revealed that the company was owned by a foreign government, but as CNN notes, “the company’s name, the country that owns it and its area of business is still unknown.”
Now, after pouring through the most recent disclosure, experts are wondering if the company could be a subsidiary of “a foreign country’s central bank.”
The line that has everybody speculating appears in a footnote:
“The US Government would rightly be outraged if a foreign country in litigation argued that Jerome Powell or Mike Pompeo had lied about the existence of documents.”
Powell is the Chairman of the Federal reserve, and Pompeo is Secretary of State.
Even though Mueller’s inquisition has ended and Muller resigned from the job, the investigation continues under the DC branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.