Trump whips up sup­port­ers

Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller launches grand jury

Cape Breton Post - - World -

Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury in Wash­ing­ton as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into po­ten­tial co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the probe says.

The use of a grand jury, a stan­dard pros­e­cu­tion tool in crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions, sug­gests that Mueller and his team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors are likely to hear from wit­nesses and de­mand doc­u­ments in the com­ing weeks and months.

The per­son who con­firmed to The As­so­ci­ated Press that Mueller had turned to a grand jury was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by name and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The Wall Street Jour­nal first re­ported the use of a grand jury.

Grand ju­ries are com­mon ve­hi­cles to sub­poena wit­nesses and records and to present ev­i­dence, though they do not sug­gest any crim­i­nal charges are near or will nec­es­sar­ily be sought. It was not im­me­di­ately clear how or whether the Wash­ing­ton grand jury was con­nected to the work of a sep­a­rate one in Alexan­dria, Va. That panel has been used to gather in­for­ma­tion on Michael Flynn, Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.

A spokesman for Mueller’s team did not re­turn an email seek­ing comment.

“We won. Move on!” Trump de­manded in a tweet posted early Fri­day, a day after he lev­elled a host of broad­sides against Democrats and in­ves­ti­ga­tors at a rally in Hunt­ing­ton, W.Va.

“We know that the na­ture of these in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­come fish­ing ex­pe­di­tions where you’re just throw­ing Jello up against the wall and hop­ing some­thing will stick,” said White House se­nior coun­sel­lor Kellyanne Conway on “Fox and Friends.”

Mueller’s reliance on a grand jury is the “log­i­cal next step in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion” given that it’s the tra­di­tional method for prose­cu­tors to gather ev­i­dence, said Wash­ing­ton de­fence lawyer Ja­cob Frenkel.

“The use of the grand jury nei­ther es­ca­lates, nor es­tab­lishes a timeline for, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he added.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, dur­ing an ap­pear­ance Thurs­day evening at a rally in Hunt­ing­ton, W.Va., chal­lenged Democrats to ei­ther con­tinue their “ob­ses­sion with a hoax” or be­gin serv­ing the in­ter­ests of the Amer­i­can people.

“I just hope the fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion is a truly hon­est one,” he said, “which is what the mil­lions of people who gave us our big win in Novem­ber de­serve and what all Amer­i­cans who want a bet­ter fu­ture want and de­serve.”

Lawyers for Trump said ear­lier they were un­aware of the ex­is­tence of a grand jury and had no in­for­ma­tion to sug­gest the pres­i­dent him­self was un­der fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“With re­spect to the news of the fed­eral grand jury, I have no rea­son to be­lieve that the pres­i­dent is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” de­fence at­tor­ney John Dowd told the AP.

Ty Cobb, spe­cial coun­sel to the pres­i­dent, said he wasn’t aware Mueller had started using a new grand jury.

“Grand jury mat­ters are typ­i­cally se­cret,” Cobb said. “The White House favours any­thing that ac­cel­er­ates the con­clu­sion of his work fairly ... The White House is com­mit­ted to fully co­op­er­at­ing with Mr. Mueller.”

It was not clear what wit­nesses might ap­pear be­fore the grand jury or what ev­i­dence it might be ac­cu­mu­lat­ing or pre­sented with. Though there is “con­sid­er­able def­er­ence to the prose­cu­tors and their rec­om­men­da­tions” when it comes to a grand jury, “the mere fact of pre­sent­ing ev­i­dence to the grand jury does not ob­li­gate prose­cu­tors in any way to ask them to re­turn an in­dict­ment,” Frenkel said.

Mueller, who worked as a prose­cu­tor in Wash­ing­ton be­fore be­com­ing FBI di­rec­tor, was ap­pointed spe­cial coun­sel in May by the Jus­tice De­part­ment fol­low­ing the fir­ing by Trump of FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey.

He has since as­sem­bled a team of more than a dozen in­ves­ti­ga­tors, in­clud­ing cur­rent and for­mer Jus­tice De­part­ment prose­cu­tors with ex­pe­ri­ence in in­ter­na­tional bribery, or­ga­nized crime and fi­nan­cial fraud.

News of the grand jury came as sen­a­tors in­tro­duced two bi­par­ti­san bills aimed at pro­tect­ing Mueller from be­ing fired by Trump, with both par­ties sig­nalling re­sis­tance to any White House ef­fort to de­rail the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling in last year’s elec­tion.

ap pHoto

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris cli­mate change accord in the Rose Gar­den of the White House in Wash­ing­ton in June.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.