Mueller responds to Flynn's sentencing memo

In a sharply worded response, special counsel prosecutors make clear that former national security adviser to President Donald Trump Michael Flynn is responsible for his false statements to the FBI.

Posted: Dec 15, 2018 9:03 PM
Updated: Dec 15, 2018 9:14 PM

Fridays at the DC federal courthouse are typically days of high alert for the press corps trying to discern what special counsel Robert Mueller's next legal action will be.

But this Friday, court officials went to extreme measures to ensure it was as difficult as possible to figure out what Mueller's team was doing as the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held a secret and mysterious argument about a grand jury subpoena challenge.

An entire floor of the courthouse was closed to the public and press for more than an hour. During that time, attorneys secretly entered the courthouse to argue before three federal appellate judges over a grand jury subpoena.

The mystery of the subpoena appeal appears to date back to early September, when CNN witnessed several lawyers from Mueller's office entering a courtroom to argue against an unknown defense team before a trial-level judge who oversees federal grand jury-related cases.

Clearly, a challenge related to Mueller's grand jury investigation was underway.

Shortly after, that judge, Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court, ruled on a case related to a grand jury subpoena, and the losing party attempted to appeal the ruling. The appellate court batted the case back down to Howell, who held a second sealed hearing on October 5. Though CNN was locked out of the courtroom while the arguments took place, the hearing featured the same team from Mueller's office as before, which included top criminal law appellate lawyer Michael Dreeben.

Mueller's office declined to comment on the hearings.

That same day Mueller's team clashed in a sealed courtroom with an unknown opponent, Howell issued another ruling on the same grand jury subpoena challenge she had decided before, sending the losing party back to the appellate court to ask for reconsideration.

Politico a few days later overheard an attorney at the appellate court discussing sealed Mueller court filings -- and the mysterious grand jury challenge got its argument date set before a three-judge panel at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Argument day arrived Friday.

Typically, DC Circuit Court arguments run smoothly, one after another until three cases have been argued publicly, starting at 9:30 am in a large, portrait-lined courtroom on the Fifth Floor of the federal courthouse on Constitution Avenue. But after Circuit judges David Tatel, Thomas Griffith and Stephen William -- who coincidentally has written two books on Russian history -- heard an immigration-related case Friday morning, the courthouse security went into lockdown mode.

Tatel, Griffith and Williams took a brief recess, indicating they'd return to the courtroom shortly.

Then, security officers cleared the appeals courtroom, allowing only about a dozen law clerks working for federal judges to stay behind, including at least one who assists Howell with her cases.

Security guards also cleared the vestibule to the courtroom and checked the coat closet where attorneys coming to listen to arguments stash their belongings. They locked the door leading to the attorneys' lounge on that floor and shooed the more than 20 reporters prowling the hall away from the elevator bank and told them to vacate the nearby stairwells. At one point, even an elevator wouldn't open its doors on the fifth floor.

The entire level of the building on which the appeals court is housed was locked down.

For more than an hour, the press waited, staking out stairwells and exits. The gaggle of law clerks dispersed about an hour after the arguments started, and then silence. No recognizable attorneys were spotted coming in and out of the courtroom or even the building.

No sign that it was Mueller's office. No sign of defense counsel. The courthouse security had ushered the lawyers into and out of the building for their secret hearing completely under cover. The sealed hearing stayed confidential.

And then, about 10 minutes after the court activity appeared to wrap for the day, a black Justice Department car rolled into Mueller's office building, bringing attorneys including Dreeben and Zainab Ahmad back to their home base.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds211139
DeSoto131115
Madison120634
Jones106149
Neshoba95268
Lauderdale87978
Rankin81612
Forrest79842
Scott74215
Harrison7198
Copiah56214
Leake54719
Holmes52040
Wayne51511
Jackson50516
Oktibbeha48324
Lee47716
Leflore46948
Yazoo4676
Washington4659
Lowndes44411
Lincoln43434
Warren42517
Lamar4077
Grenada3675
Pike35612
Monroe35529
Attala35023
Lafayette3394
Newton3289
Covington2905
Sunflower2806
Adams26318
Bolivar26113
Chickasaw25418
Panola2546
Jasper2456
Noxubee2458
Tate2457
Clay24010
Marion24011
Winston2405
Pearl River23932
Pontotoc2314
Claiborne22810
Simpson2183
Smith20411
Clarke19824
Marshall1963
Coahoma1836
Kemper17413
Union1729
Walthall1694
Carroll15711
Lawrence1541
Yalobusha1527
Webster12310
Itawamba1228
Tippah12111
Hancock12013
Humphreys1209
Calhoun1194
Montgomery1162
Jefferson Davis1034
Prentiss973
Tallahatchie943
Greene917
Tunica893
Wilkinson899
Jefferson843
Amite812
George733
Choctaw714
Quitman670
Tishomingo651
Perry594
Alcorn551
Stone511
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena61
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4210140
Montgomery378894
Mobile3634134
Tuscaloosa196436
Marshall14959
Lee116737
Shelby105623
Madison10216
Morgan9553
Franklin84313
Walker84317
Dallas8088
Elmore80614
Baldwin6639
Etowah60613
Butler60427
Chambers57627
DeKalb5765
Tallapoosa56069
Autauga53011
Unassigned50924
Russell4690
Lowndes45719
Houston4244
Lauderdale4105
Limestone4030
Cullman3983
Pike3965
Colbert3635
Bullock3609
Coffee3522
Barbour3221
Covington3086
St. Clair2922
Hale28520
Wilcox2788
Marengo27711
Sumter27512
Calhoun2685
Clarke2645
Escambia2586
Talladega2576
Dale2410
Winston2293
Jackson2102
Chilton2062
Blount2041
Pickens2046
Marion20012
Monroe1942
Choctaw19112
Conecuh1786
Randolph1699
Bibb1671
Macon1668
Greene1647
Perry1350
Henry1293
Crenshaw1223
Lawrence1000
Washington987
Cherokee717
Lamar711
Fayette661
Geneva630
Coosa551
Clay532
Cleburne291
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 71°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather