Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a Washington grand jury for his Russian Federation investigation, a key procedural step as he looks into potential collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation, said two sources familiar with the investigation.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he didn't win last year's election because of Russia, even as media reports said the Justice Department has convened a grand jury to investigate allegations of Russian efforts to influence the election.
Trump has called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt", adding that the special counsel's appointment in May was very harmful to the US.
Four weeks ago, the New York Times revealed in a report that Trump's eldest son, his son-in-law and former election campaign manager met with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin soon after Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination previous year.
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Mueller's team is broadly investigating whether any Trump associates colluded with the Russian government in its attempts to disrupt the election. A grand jury had been part of the FBI's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and was impaneled in Virginia, the Journal reported.
The grand jury is also a sign that Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling and possible Trump campaign collusion is ramping up.
"We won because we totally outworked the other side", Trump said Thursday.
President Donald Trump is spending one more night in D.C. before he takes what the White House is calling a 17-day "working vacation". Experts who commented for the story agreed that the move indicates Mueller's investigation is set up to be rigorous, long-term, and large in scale.
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The White House issued a statement from Trump attorney Ty Cobb saying that they are committed to "fully cooperating" with Mueller.
"Grand jury matters are typically secret", Cobb said.
WSJ also reports that in an effort to ensure Mr. Mueller's independence as a special counsel would be protected, Sens.
"The White House favours anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly..."
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Grand juries "serve as the mechanism by which" criminal charges are initiated, according to former federal prosecutor Alex Whiting, and they have the authority to subpoena documents and witnesses.