Journalists were kept away from a secret federal appeals court hearing on Friday in Washington, D.C., as officials sealed off an entire floor for over an hour during arguments in a mysterious grand jury case which some believe could be related to the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
The case – known officially as “In re: Grand Jury Subpoena” – has been sealed in its entirety when it comes to public records, as it moved from the district court to the appeals court level in recent months.
Reporters at the courthouse – which is just down the hill from the U.S. Capitol – at first tried to gather outside the courtroom where the secret arguments were going to take place, but then security officials sealed off the entire fifth floor of the building, making it nearly impossible to find out who was involved in the matter.
“We have spread out across the building,” tweeted Darren Samuelsohn, a reporter for Politico. “No sightings yet to report of note.”
The possible tie to the Mueller investigation was reported by Politico earlier this year, when one of their reporters observed someone asking for a secret court filing to take to a law firm involved in the matter.
There are two different sealed cases involving an unknown grand jury which have attracted attention at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals – as the relatively speedy nature of the cases – and then today’s sealing off of an entire floor – has prompted intense interest.
“To this day, I can’t fathom what the heck it could be that would move this fast and get this much secrecy,” said national security lawyer Bradley Moss.
Here’s the docket on the case – as you can see, it offers little in the way of information.
But with officials sealing off the entire courthouse floor to deal with it – the case certainly raises questions about what’s going on.
And reporters were not able to figure it out on Friday.