Special Counsel Robert Mueller is ramping up his investigation into Russia’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election. The Wall Street Journal reports Mueller will impanel a Washington Grand Jury to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 president election.
Wall Street Journal reports:
The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, is a sign that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry is ramping up and that it will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.
A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, Joshua Stueve, declined to comment. Moscow has denied seeking to influence the election, and Mr. Trump has vigorously disputed allegations of collusion. The president has called Mr. Mueller’s inquiry a “witch hunt.”
Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said he wasn’t aware that Mr. Mueller had started using a new grand jury. “Grand jury matters are typically secret,” Mr. Cobb said. “The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly.…The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”
Before Mr. Mueller was tapped in May to be special counsel, federal prosecutors had been using at least one other grand jury, located in Alexandria, Va., to assist in their criminal investigation of Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser. That probe, which has been taken over by Mr. Mueller’s team, focuses on Mr. Flynn’s work in the private sector on behalf of foreign interests.
Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. Legal experts said that the decision by Mr. Mueller to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses.
According to a new report by VOX, the witch hunt just got worse, as Mueller has notified former FBI Head James Comey and former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe that they should be prepared to testify against President Trump.
Shortly after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May, Acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe told several of the highest-ranking managers of the bureau they should consider themselves possible witnesses in any investigation into whether President Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials.
McCabe has told colleagues that he too is a potential witness in the probe of whether Trump broke the law by trying to thwart the FBI’s Russia investigation and the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Two senior federal law enforcement officials have told me that the new revelations illustrate why they believe the potential case against Trump is stronger than outsiders have thought.
“What you are going to have is the potential for a powerful obstruction case,” a senior law enforcement official said. “You are going to have the [former] FBI director testify, and then the acting director, the chief of staff to the FBI director, the FBI’s general counsel, and then others, one right after another. This has never been the word of Trump against what [James Comey] has had to say. This is more like the Federal Bureau of Investigation versus Donald Trump.”
Trump and his supporters have long argued that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the special counsel to bring an obstruction case against Trump. The case would rely on the word of one man versus another, that of the president of the United States versus the director of the FBI he fired. But this was never the case.
Including Comey, as many as 10, and possibly more, of the nation’s most senior law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned as part of the investigation into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, according to two government investigators with first-hand knowledge of the matter. Comey’s notes on his conversations could also be used as evidence, according to many reports.