Mueller Impanels Grand Jury in Russia Investigation

Subpoenas issued related to 2016 meeting between Trump Jr., Russian lawyer (Updated)

Robert Mueller / Getty Images

Robert Mueller / Getty Images

BY:

Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury as part of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to two people close to the investigation.

The grand jury began its work in recent weeks and provides the surest sign yet that the investigation is intensifying, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mueller's team is investigating not only Russia's actions but also the possibility of collusion with the Trump campaign.

Grand jury subpoenas have already been issued related to the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., a Russian lawyer, and others, according to Reuters.

Despite President Donald Trump calling the Russia investigation a "witch hunt," his counsel expressed support for the grand jury.

"Grand jury matters are typically secret," Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, told the Journal. "The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly. … The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller."

Trump has previously criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. On Twitter he has said that the whole matter is a witch hunt.

A grand jury located in Alexandria, Va. was already impaneled in the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Mueller's team has taken over that probe. Former FBI Director James Comey has said that Trump pressured him to drop the investigation into Flynn, a point he repeated to lawmakers in congressional testimony after Trump fired him.

Others said that the grand jury's existence indicates that prosecutions are being considered in the Russia probe beyond just Flynn.

"This is yet a further sign that there is a long-term, large-scale series of prosecutions being contemplated and being pursued by the special counsel," University of Texas law professor Stephen I. Vladeck told the Journal. "If there was already a grand jury in Alexandria looking at Flynn, there would be no need to reinvent the wheel for the same guy. This suggests that the investigation is bigger and wider than Flynn, perhaps substantially so."

Some on the right have cast doubt on Mueller's investigation after he hired attorneys and prosecutors who had donated to Democrats. As of this writing, at least eight members of Mueller's team have donated to Democratic candidates.

UPDATED 4:34 P.M.: This post was updated to include new information that grand jury subpoenas have been issued.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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