$twitterViaMap.put("nbcwashi Mueller Turns to DC Grand Jury in Russia Probe: Source - NBC Bay Area
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Mueller Turns to DC Grand Jury in Russia Probe: Source

A special counsel to the president said he wasn't aware that the special counsel had started using a new grand jury

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Seth Meyers talks with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., about what it means for the Russia investigation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury. (Published Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017)

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury in Washington as part of an investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, a person familiar with the probe says.

    The use of a grand jury, a standard prosecution tool in criminal investigations, suggests that Mueller and his team of investigators are likely to hear from witnesses and demand documents in the coming weeks and months.

    The person who confirmed to The Associated Press that Mueller had turned to a grand jury was not authorized to discuss the investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The Wall Street Journal first reported the use of a grand jury.

    Trump's Attempt to Discredit Mueller's Investigation

    [NATL] Trump's Attempt to Discredit Mueller's Investigation

    The Trump administration is reportedly looking for ways to undercut the Russia investigation carried out by special counsel Robert Mueller, and there's also news President Trump is asking aides about the limits of his pardon powers.

    (Published Monday, July 24, 2017)

    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. It was not immediately clear how or whether the Washington grand jury was connected to the work of a separate one in Alexandria, Virginia. That panel has been used to gather information on Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser.

    A spokesman for Mueller's team did not return an email seeking comment.

    Mueller's reliance on a grand jury is the "logical next step in this investigation" given that it's the traditional method for prosecutors to gather evidence, said Washington defense lawyer Jacob Frenkel.

    "The use of the grand jury neither escalates, nor establishes a timeline for, the investigation," he added.

    President Donald Trump, during an appearance Thursday evening at a rally in Huntington, W.Va., challenged Democrats to either continue their "obsession with a hoax" or begin serving the interests of the American people.

    "I just hope the final determination is a truly honest one," he said, "which is what the millions of people who gave us our big win in November deserve and what all Americans who want a better future want and deserve."

    Breaking Down the New GOP Tax Plan

    [NATL] Breaking Down the New GOP Tax Plan

    The Senate and House have an agreement upon new tax legislation. AP Reporter Stephen Ohlemacher looks at some of the key takeaways.

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    Lawyers for Trump said earlier they were unaware of the existence of a grand jury and had no information to suggest the president himself was under federal investigation.

    "With respect to the news of the federal grand jury, I have no reason to believe that the president is under investigation," defense attorney John Dowd told the AP.

    Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said he wasn't aware Mueller had started using a new grand jury.

    "Grand jury matters are typically secret," 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."

    It was not clear what witnesses might appear before the grand jury or what evidence it might be accumulating or presented with.

    Though there is "considerable deference to the prosecutors and their recommendations" when it comes to a grand jury, "the mere fact of presenting evidence to the grand jury does not obligate prosecutors in any way to ask them to return an indictment," Frenkel said.

    Trump Pitches Tax Bill for Families, Businesses

    [NATL] Trump Pitches Tax Bill for Families, Businesses

    President Donald Trump pitched a tax cut bill drafted by GOP lawmakers, claiming it will bring money back from offshore accounts while giving families a modest tax cut of $2,000. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, are criticizing the bill for favoring the wealthy and large corporations. 

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017)

    Mueller, who worked as a prosecutor in Washington before becoming FBI director, was appointed special counsel in May by the Justice Department following the firing by Trump of FBI Director James Comey. He has since assembled a team of more than a dozen investigators, including current and former Justice Department prosecutors with experience in international bribery, organized crime and financial fraud.

    News of the grand jury came as senators introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at protecting Mueller from being fired by Trump, with both parties signaling resistance to any White House effort to derail the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election.

    Trump's defense team has been looking into potential conflicts of interest among members of Mueller's team, such as past political contributions to Democrats including Hillary Clinton, and Trump has warned that any effort by Mueller to look into his finances would fall outside the scope of Mueller's appointment.

    Under the regulations, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the government official empowered to fire Mueller under limited circumstances, such as conflict of interest and dereliction of duty. Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, has publicly said he has seen no basis for firing him.

    Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told Fox News on Thursday that "the president is not thinking about firing Robert Mueller so the speculation that's out there is just incorrect."

    He also downplayed the significance of the grand jury, calling it "a standard operating procedure when you've got a situation like this."

    White House: ‘No Way’ Trump Tweet to NY Sen. Is Sexist

    [NATL] White House: ‘No Way’ Trump Tweet to NY Sen. Is Sexist

    President Donald Trump tweeted that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand would “do anything” for campaign contributions on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Later in the day, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump’s tweet was not sexist.

    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017)

    Associated Press writer Stephen Braun and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.