Robert Mueller gathers Grand Jury in Trump-Russia investigation

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The inquiry by ex-FBI director Mueller (right) has been denounced as a “witch hunt” by the US president


Thank you, Robert Mueller, Donald Trump Grand Jury Subpoenas are finally here, It’s about time!!!

A special counsel investigating claims of Russian meddling in the US election has reportedly impaneled a grand jury.

The reports by Wall Street Journal and Reuters news agency suggest Robert Mueller’s inquiry is stepping up.

Reuters reports the jury has issued subpoenas for a June 2016 meeting between President Donald Trump’s son and a Russian lawyer.

The president has poured scorn on any suggestion his team colluded with the Kremlin to beat Hillary Clinton.

In the US legal system, grand juries are set up to consider whether the evidence, in any case, is strong enough for indictments to be issued for a criminal trial. They do not decide the innocence or guilt of a potential defendant.

Now it’s deadly serious – Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation has always been a concern for the Trump administration. Now it’s deadly serious business.

With the news that a grand jury has been convened in Washington DC, and that it is looking into the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr and Russian nationals, it’s clear the investigation is focusing on the president’s inner circle.

This news shouldn’t come as a huge shock, given that Mr. Mueller has been staffing up with veteran criminal prosecutors and investigators. It is, however, a necessary step that could eventually lead to criminal indictments. At the very least it’s a sign that Mr. Mueller could be on the trail of something big – expanding the scope beyond former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his questionable lobbying – and his investigation is not going to go away anytime soon.

In the past, when big news about the Russia investigation has been revealed, Mr. Trump has escalated his rhetoric and taken dead aim at his perceived adversaries. The pressure is being applied to the president. How will he respond?

Ty Cobb, a lawyer appointed last month as White House special counsel to field questions in the Russia inquiry, said on Thursday there is no reason to believe the president himself is under investigation.

Mr. Trump is due to address a rally in Huntington, West Virginia, on Thursday evening.

The US intelligence community, including the CIA and NSA, has determined that Russia sought to boost Mr Trump’s chances of victory in November 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Trump has at times expressed doubt about the determination made by his own intelligence agencies.

Mr. Mueller was appointed in May by the deputy attorney general of the Department of Justice.

Several congressional inquiries are examining the same allegations.