Grand jury spurs Russia investigation
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
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on Thursday in Huntington, West Virginia.