Justice Department issues grand jury subpoenas over Trump Jr. meeting

Violet Powell
August 5, 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has convened a grand jury in Washington, D.C., as part of his probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether associates of Donald Trump colluded in that effort, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 United States election, in what amounts to a dramatic escalation of the continuing scandal.

Trump has repeatedly denied collusion with the Russian government and has called Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt".

It's unclear whether Mueller impaneled a new grand jury or is using an existing one.

"We have been cooperating with Bob Mueller and his staff since the first of June because we're trying to get this thing over and done with", he said.

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A pair of bills were unveiled on Thursday, co-sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, that would take measures to bar the president from directly firing the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States election and any involvement by the president and his team. Said prosecutors can subpoena witnesses and/or documents to put before the grand jury, legally compelling those individuals to either produce said documents or testify under oath.

The president has strongly denied any wrongdoing by his campaign, as well as any ties to Russian Federation.

Analysts say that Mueller's use of a grand jury shows that he is taking control of the investigation.

Ty Cobb, an attorney for the President, said the White House will fully cooperate with Mueller and that it "favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly".

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. "There's a concern that he frankly may have a conflict of interest", said Josh Earnest Former Obama White House Press Secretary. A lawyer for Kushner said Trump's son-in-law "briefly attended" the meeting. It is unclear whether the subpoenas issued in recent weeks relate to other members of Trump's campaign who have been a focus of the Mueller investigation, including Paul J. Manafort, the former campaign chairman. A top Trump White House lawyer told reporters he wasn't aware of the move. USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation attempted to sway the presidential contest in Trump's favor.

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