Special Counsel Robert Mueller has launched a grand jury to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections. As of now, the continued investigation of collusion to be considered by a jury in Washington is officially underway. So if you're wondering when a Russia grand jury will happen, the answer is technically now, thanks to Mueller.
According to an exclusive report from Reuters, the grand jury subpoenas were issued in connection to Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer back in July 2016. The unnamed sources told Reuters the subpoenas were issued after news broke of Trump Jr.'s meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who allegedly had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Currently, there is no set date for when evidence will be presented to the grand jury. However, Mueller's addition of several high-powered lawyers could likely speed up the process of collecting valuable evidence. Greg Andres, a former Justice Department attorney who has a history of specializing in corruption and bribery just joined the Russia probe alongside Mueller. While Mueller's spokesman, Josh Steuve, declined to speak to The Wall Street Journal about the new development, Trump's lawyer Ty Cobb released a statement Thursday in response to the news.
"Grand jury matters are typically secret." Cobb wrote. "The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly. The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller."
The move to impanel a grand jury will empower Mueller and his 16 attorneys to subpoena important documents, place witnesses under oath, and where there is evidence of a crime, push for indictments. Unlike regular juries, a grand jury often works for months at a time alongside lawyers to inspect evidence and interrogate witnesses, thus making it a more in-depth process for all jurors involved.
Jimmy Gurule, a former assistant general attorney under president George H.W. Bush told USA Today that enlisting a grand jury automatically elevates the seriousness of the investigation.
"This suggests that there is evidence that a crime may have been committed and there is a need to apply the legal tools a grand jury can bring to bear," Gurule said. "With a grand jury, Mueller can compel witnesses to testify and collect documents that are central to the investigation. This is not a step to be taken lightly. This is a significant action."
While impaneling a grand jury does not guarantee charges will be brought against Trump or any members of his administration, it does mean the investigation is moving in that direction. We'll know more specifics about the grand jury itself as the timeline unfolds to the public.