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Reports: Mueller impanels grand jury in Russia probe

By Danielle Haynes
Reports: Mueller impanels grand jury in Russia probe
Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to investigate Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to investigate whether Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election, unnamed sources familiar with the matter said.

Sources told The Wall Street Journal the jury began investigating the alleged meddling in recent weeks and will likely continue for a number of months.

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Another unnamed source told CNN that Mueller has issued grand jury subpoenas related to the 2016 meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in Manhattan. The subpoena seeks documents and testimony from people involved in the meeting, which was attended by eight people.

Trump's special counsel, Ty Cobb, issued a statement saying he wasn't aware Mueller was using a new grand jury.

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"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."

The meeting started with an email from British music publicist Rob Goldstone to Trump Jr. In it, Goldstone offered to arrange a meeting between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, whom he described as a "Russian government attorney." Goldstone said she wanted to give Trump Jr. information about Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. [Donald] Trump."

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Trump Jr. agreed to go, saying, "if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

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Trump Jr. said Veselnitskaya made "vague" and "ambiguous" statements that "made no sense" related to alleged information she had that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee in support of Clinton.

He said Veselnitskaya's "true agenda" was to discuss the U.S. adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act.

In addition to Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, six others were at the meeting: Goldstone; Ike Kaveladze, the vice president of a Russian real estate company; Paul Manafort; Jared Kushner; Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who served in a counterintelligence unit of the former Soviet military; and Anatoli Samochornov, a former State Department employee acting as a translator for Veselnitskaya.

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Prior to Mueller's appointment in May, the FBI had been using at least one other grand jury in Alexandria, Va., the Journal reported. That grand jury was investigating Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and payments he received from foreign interests.

CNN also reported that federal investigators are focusing on Trump and his associates' financial connections to Russia as a possible path for prosecution rather than his campaigns possible ties to Kremlin election meddling.

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RELATED Poll: 81% believe Trump should not stop Russian investigation

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