Robert Mueller Impanels Grand Jury In Russia Probe
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, head of the investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 Presidential election, impaneled a grand jury on Thursday.
Although this is not an uncommon step, it shows that Mueller is moving the process forward. Grand juries are characteristically impaneled to examine document release and testimony. Acting FBI Director, Andrew McCade, has informed several employees of the bureau they are considered witnesses in the investigation and to be prepared.
Additionally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and senior Justice Department officials are believed to be crucial witnesses.
As of now, it is unclear what exactly the grand jury is addressing in their investigation. However, according to CNN, Mueller’s team is exploring Trump’s financial ties to Russia. These financial ties go back to the Trump Organization and the FBI is currently reviewing records of Trump’s family members and associates.
This financial focus wasn’t unnoticed by Trump. In an interview with The New York Times, Trump warned Mueller that his financial dealings were a red line that investigators shouldn’t cross. He also said a special council should have never been appointed in the first place.
Since May, Mueller has investigated whether Trump colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. The focus had been on whether Trump obstructed justice when he had allegedly asked Comey to shut down the inquiry on the matter and pressured the past FBI director to restrain the FBI’s Russia investigation.
As off now, the White House is not commenting. White House spokesperson Kelly Love said, “This would be a question for outside counsel.” The FBI has also declined to comment.
This comes on the tail end of new sanctions on Russia. Trump tweeted: “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low.”
As always, there is still no evidence of collusion. Impaneling a grand jury does not mean steps have been taken towards an indictment of the president or any campaign officials.
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