Archive for Friday, August 4, 2017

Trump whips up supporters against Russia probe as Mueller turns to grand jury

In this June 21, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

In this June 21, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

August 4, 2017

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— 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.

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.

"We won. Move on!" Trump demanded in a tweet posted early Friday, a day after he leveled a host of broadsides against Democrats and investigators at a rally in Huntington, West Virginia.

"We know that the nature of these investigations become fishing expeditions where you're just throwing Jello up against the wall and hoping something will stick," said White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway on "Fox and Friends."

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, West Virginia., 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."

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.

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."

Comments

MerriAnnie Smith 2 months, 2 weeks ago

""We won. Move on!" Trump demanded in a tweet posted early Friday, a day after he leveled a host of broadsides against Democrats and investigators at a rally in Huntington, West Virginia."

That pretty much proves that Trump was never interested in how ethical his win was, nor in running the country in an ethical way. Winning was all he was interested in and to him, that makes any crimes he committed in order to win okay.

We live in interesting times when the president of the United States has zero ethics and is unashamed to prove it publicly with every word.

Lynn Grant 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree MerriAnnie. "We won. Move on" he says. Yes, Donald, you won the Electoral College. Now move on to doing your job for all Americans.

Justin Hoffman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Day #268 the liberals have been fishing for crimes against Trump with nary a bite. Fish on.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Justin.........the popular label "liberal" is worn out. You supporters of Chump and his Russian buddies are no longer relevant.

The investigation is on and into very serious mode. Muller will find the truth regardless of Chump's protestations.

The real truth is simple. There is a great deal of evidence that Chump's family and associates had a lot of help from the Russian meddling in defeating the black, non-citizen, Muslim former President of the United States (the real one). His continuing lambasting of Mrs. Clinton long after the "election" was decided speaks volumes about his "win" and "inauguration".

"Win" or lose, Chump is a fraud, a swinging gate in the wind, a complete loser and fool and disgusting example of the former respectable office of President of the United States.

He should be impeached as a pretender to the throne.

His attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act (the health care act referred to in the media as the racist "Obamacare") have failed. And will continue to fail until some way can be found to get around the very basic fact that health care costs money.......lots and lots o money......and health care suppliers are not likely to reduce their cash cow incomes

But yet,,,,,,,,,,they continue to flail in the wind with our health care provisions in their continuing political attacks on the former (real) president and his accomplishment of establishing a health care provision for those who formerly could not afford health insurance..

Chase Blackwood 2 months, 2 weeks ago

You know ... "fish on" typically means that you've got a fish on the line and you need to reel it in.

David Barrett 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It definitely means that...and I think that impaneling a grand jury means they've caught a whopper.

Justin Hoffman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

LOL!!! Is that like the 20th time we've heard liberals shout, "We've got him, we've got the big one!"? Keep telling yourself that if it makes your feel better.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Justin....we will all wait to see how this pans out. I hope that an impeachment is the result of this criminal behavior and intent in the White House.

Justin Hoffman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

How do you impeach an "illegitimate" president, as you say Trump is? How do you impeach a president who didn't really win? I must know the answers to these questions Fred. Or maybe, just maybe, by your desire to see him impeached (which will NEVER happen), you are admitting what the rest of the world and those with common sense already know...he IS the legitimate president whether you like it or not. Whine, cry, and pout but it doesn't change the fact. Have a nice day and happy fishing! (wink, wink)

Richard Heckler 2 months, 2 weeks ago

TRUMP is watching his empire crumble as a result of the many investigations under way which he brought on himself by jumping into the spotlight and his big mouth.

Though he is representative of this radical libertarian/fundamentalist team that subverted the republican party into a anti American agenda.

The Long, Twisted, and Bizarre History of the Trump-Russia Scandal Here's the timeline you need to keep track of the controversy.

http://www.kkfi.org/program-episodes/president-donald-trump-foreign-investment-russian-oligarchs-ray-mcgovern-leaked-not-hacked-us-deep-state-v-trump/

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/exhaustive-history-donald-trump-russia-scandal-timeline

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/heres-what-we-know-about-donald-trump-and-his-ties-to-russia/2016/07/29/1268b5ec-54e7-11e6-88eb-7dda4e2f2aec_story.html?utm_term=.945a19ac36d9

http://www.salon.com/2017/05/28/a-timeline-russia-and-president-trump_partner/

Richard Heckler 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Watergate, Iran Contra, several financial fiascos have occurred under the conservative umbrella since Reagan/Bush. So to say there is not a pattern is nonsense.

=== Why shouldn't law enforcement be interested in a man who got bailed out of bankruptcy through Russian crime bosses? http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-was-bailed-out-bankruptcy-russia-crime-bosses

=== Trump is the greater threat to USA security, Economic Growth and/or foreign policy. http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-was-bailed-out-bankruptcy-russia-crime-bosses

Michael Kort 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Listening to anything that Trump has to say sounds like listening to a cheep advertisement for some low end casino where suckers mint themselves broke for the hell of it all .

YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT ! THIS IS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC !..............blah.....blah.......blah.....and on and on and on .........because suckers create themselves by believing advertising hype and jive until they are broke .

The house always wins and the cardboard president is always a stand out with the next promise of something greater than whatever, to empty the pockets of. Fools .

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Let's remember, his supporters are immoral enough that he could shoot someone in broad daylight, and they would still love him. If he is indicted, maybe they will all move to Russia with him. Actually, he will abandon them all and move to Dubai.

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Mueller should be able to drag this inquisition out til 2020, when point Liberal ring leaders can roll out their Presidential token to allay their emotionally hypersensitive base that needs safe space to eat cookies.

I doubt Trump will want to put up with another four years of fantasies from people under the influence.

P Allen Macfarlane 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Great! We'll all celebrate and hope that the door doesn't hit him in the fanny!

Steve Hicks 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Justin, I'm glad you got that it's not about "Democrats" and "Republicans."

Now, pay attention here...it's not about "liberals" and "conservatives" either.

Remember, Justin: there are decent people...and there are liars and crooks.

Using a realistic criteria, you'll be able to see the real difference.

Carol Bowen 2 months, 2 weeks ago

A pep rally versus a grand jury does not make sense.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And it would seem that the "decent and honest" people stayed home on election day.

Michael Kort 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't feel like myself or the USA are WINNERS yet .........The last 6 months are way below Trumps FANTASTIC administration........I can't say that I LOVE IT conserning Trumps

First 6 mos.f

administration...........And I understand that others around this world see Trump and the USA as GREAT fools that Trunp has made America into. .

Trumps choice of words sounds like advertising lines from a casino..........maybe liked the ones that he used going bankrupted .

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