Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to oversee the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C., a clear indication that the investigation may, in fact, be yielding fruit and is moving full speed ahead.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the grand jury began its work in recent weeks and that Mueller’s inquiry is likely ramping up and could go on for months.
President Donald Trump has vehemently denied that there was any collusion with Russia during the election, and Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, told WSJ that he wasn’t aware that Mueller had arranged 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.”
According to the Post, federal prosecutors had been using another grand jury in Alexandria, Va., to assist with their criminal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn prior to Mueller’s appointment.
Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. Legal experts said that the decision by Mr. Mueller to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses.
Thomas Zeno, who was a federal prosecutor for 29 years and then a lawyer at the Squire Patton Boggs law firm, told WSJ that the new grand jury is “confirmation that this is a very vigorous investigation going on.”
“This doesn’t mean he is going to bring charges,” Zeno clarified. “But it shows he is very serious. He wouldn’t do this if it were winding down.”
WSJ also reports that in an effort to ensure that Mueller’s independence as special counsel would be protected, Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced legislation Thursday that makes it more difficult for Trump to fire Mueller.
The new legislation makes it so that Mueller would be able to challenge his removal. A three-judge panel would decide whether the firing was justified, and if they found no good cause for the termination, Mueller would be reinstated.
All of this indicates the importance of the special counsel and the investigation he is conducting. While Trump has tried to distract the American people with all manner of crazy accusations against Mueller and others involved with the investigation, those of us paying enough attention realize that something in the milk ain’t clean.
And that dirt is probably about to be exposed.
Read more at the Wall Street Journal.