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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Justice Department prosecutors on Monday filed a motion to dismiss charges against the shell companies accused of financing the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that engaged in a social media disinformation scheme to interfere in the 2016 election.

The big picture: Prosecutors claim that the Russians were essentially able to evade accountability and punishment while taking advantage of the discovery process to potentially harm U.S. national security.

Context: The shell companies, Concord Management and Concord Consulting, were charged by special counsel Robert Mueller in 2018 along with 13 Russian individuals and the troll farm itself — known as the Internet Research Agency. The scheme, outlined in the 2018 indictment and again in the Mueller report, sought to sow political discord ahead of the 2016 election.

Details: The Concord companies sought to fight the indictment in court, unlike the other Russians charged by Mueller. In doing so, prosecutors say they were able to "obtain discovery" from the U.S. government regarding its efforts to "detect and deter foreign election interference" — while also ignoring court-issued subpoenas.

  • "In short, Concord has demonstrated its intent to reap the benefits of the Court’s jurisdiction while positioning itself to evade any real obligations or responsibility," prosecutors argued in the filing.
  • "It is no longer in the best interests of justice or the country’s national security to continue this prosecution."

Read the filing.

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.

51 mins ago - World

Honduras elects first female president

Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro, of the Libertad y Refundacion (Libre) Party, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Sunday. Photo: Inti Ocon/Getty Images

Former Honduras first lady Xiomara Castro is set to become the country's first female president president, after the ruling party conceded defeat in the country's elections on Tuesday night, per AP.

Why it matters: The democratic socialist and her Libre Party have broken a 12-year run for the conservative National Party, which U.S. prosecutors alleged fostered a "narco-state," note Axios' Latinos' Marina E. Franco and Russell Contreras.

Food delivery "ghost kitchens" face major obstacles

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The growing popularity of food delivery has given rise to startups that open "ghost kitchens" — kitchens in warehouses or trailers that prepare food solely for delivery and have no option to dine in.

  • But they can come with a whole host of problems.

The big picture: The concept of "ghost kitchens" has been dubbed the next big thing in the future of services, with high profile backers like Uber founder Travis Kalanick. But these kitchens can be hard to run or unsafe.