Grand jury spurs Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

tion of anonymity.

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, Vir­ginia. 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.

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 de­fense lawyer Ja­cob Frenkel.

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

Trump’s pres­i­dency has been over­shad­owed by al­le­ga­tions his cam­paign team col­luded with Moscow dur­ing last year’s elec­tion cam­paign, in which he de­feated Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Af­ter meet­ing his Rus­sian coun­ter­part at a G20 sum­mit in Ger­many last month, Trump said he wanted to work more closely with Moscow.

Dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on Thurs­day at a rally in Hunt­ing­ton, West Vir­ginia, Trump chal­lenged Democrats to ei­ther con­tinue their “ob­ses­sion with a hoax or be­gin serv­ing the in­ter­ests of Amer­i­cans.”

“I just hope the fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion is a truly hon­est one, 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,” he said.

Trump blamed Congress for caus­ing US-Rus­sian ties to be at “an all-time and very dan­ger­ous low”.

“Our re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia is at an all-time & very dan­ger­ous low. You can thank Congress, the same peo­ple that can’t even give us health­care!” Trump said on Twit­ter.

His com­ments came a day af­ter he signed into law a sanc­tions bill on Rus­sia, Iran and the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea, while de­scrib­ing the bill as “se­ri­ously flawed.”

Moscow called the sanc­tions a “dec­la­ra­tion of eco­nomic war”.

In re­tal­i­a­tion for the new leg­is­la­tion, Moscow had al­ready or­dered the US diplo­matic mis­sion in Rus­sia to cut its staff by 755 peo­ple.

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,” de­fense at­tor­ney John Dowd said.

I just hope the fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion is a truly hon­est one.” Don­ald Trump, US pres­i­dent

DAR­RON CUMMINGS / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a rally on Thurs­day in Hunt­ing­ton, West Vir­ginia.

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