Special Counsel Robert Mueller, head of the Russia investigation, has called for a grand jury in Washington to investigate allegations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday. While a grand jury is not a guarantee of indictments, it is a first step in the process.
The grand jury began its work in recent weeks and is a sign that Mueller’s inquiry into Russia’s efforts to influence the election and whether it colluded with President Donald Trump’s campaign is ramping up, the Journal said.
President Donald Trump and his associates’ financial ties to Russia is cited “as one of the most fertile avenues for moving their probe forward,” CNN reported.
In a previous interview with The New York Times, Trump said it would be “a violation” for Mueller to investigate his finances.
“Look, this is about Russia,” Trump told reporters in the exclusive interview. “So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company. And actually, when I do my filings, peoples say, ‘Man.’ People have no idea how successful this is. It’s a great company. But I don’t even think about the company anymore. I think about this. ’Cause one thing, when you do this, companies seem very trivial. O.K.? I really mean that. They seem very trivial. But I have no income from Russia. I don’t do business with Russia.”
Mueller pulled FBI agents and prosecutors from field agencies to be part of the Russia investigation. Many investigators involved in the Russia probe have backgrounds in investigating fraud and financial crimes. There are 16 attorneys assigned to the probe, a spokesman for Mueller told CNN.
Trump is still planning his two-week golf vacation, according to reports, despite a bevy of new controversy.
Reuters contributed to this article.