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Iran Press TV

Mueller impanels grand jury in Russia investigation: Report

Iran Press TV

Fri Aug 4, 2017 12:37AM

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller tasked with investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election has reportedly impaneled a grand jury.

The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday the jury started its work several weeks ago. According to the paper, the probe is intensifying and could stretch for months.

Mueller is also reportedly investigating financial records of President Donald Trump's associates.

The establishment of the grand jury will allow Mueller to subpoena officials and get sworn testimony which may lead to criminal indictments.

White House special counsel Ty Cobb claimed that he was unaware of the development.

"Grand jury matters are typically secret. The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly," Cobb said in a statement. "The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller."

The grand jury is located in Washington, DC. It follows a separate grand jury previously convened in Alexandria, Virginia, by federal prosecutors probing Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The White House has maintained its belief that Trump is not likely the subject of an investigation.

"Former FBI Director Jim Comey said three times the president is not under investigation and we have no reason to believe that has changed," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders when asked about the grand jury.

Meanwhile senators have introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at protecting Mueller from being fired by the president. The Special Counsel has recently come under pressure from Trump.

"Our bill allows judicial review of any decision to terminate a special counsel to make sure it's done for the reasons cited in the regulation rather than political motivation. I think this will serve the country well," Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement.

The US intelligence community has raised alarm about Russia's cyberattacks, describing them as a "major threat" to the US voting system, and continues to brief the president about the issue. Russia has rejected these claims as baseless.

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