Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election has taken a step forward with the impaneling of a grand jury in Washington, according to multiple reports. Calling this “a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase,” the Wall Street Journal notes the significance of the grand jury’s location.
When Mueller took over as special counsel there was already a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia looking into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. “If there was already a grand jury in Alexandria looking at Flynn, there would be no need to reinvent the wheel for the same guy. This suggests that the investigation is bigger and wider than Flynn, perhaps substantially so,” University of Texas law professor Stephen I. Vladeck told the WSJ.
Indeed, we also learned Thursday afternoon that Mueller’s grand jury has issued subpoenas related to the meeting Donald Trump Jr. took with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower last year. Also present at that meeting were Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort.
In a statement to the media, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump’s lawyer Ty Cobb wasn’t aware of this new grand jury. “Grand jury matters are typically secret,” Sanders quoted Cobb as saying. “The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly….The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”
Sanders statement added that former FBI Director James Comey “said three times the President is not under investigation and we have no reason to believe that has changed.”