Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign has seemingly entered a new phase, judging by a new Wall Street Journal report that reveals Mueller has impaneled a grand jury.
The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, is a sign that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry is ramping up and that it will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.
President Trump is not a fan of Mueller's probe. He has even called it a "witch hunt." Yet, Mueller expanded the investigation a couple weeks ago when he announced his team would also be taking a look at Trump's former business transactions. Those transactions, Trump lawyer John Dowd insisted, are "well beyond the mandate of the special counsel."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) probably also pushed the president's buttons today when he introduced legislation making it harder for him to fire Mueller. If the bill passes, White House officials hoping to give Mueller the boot would first have to go before a panel of three federal judges to get approval.
Graham hopes it won't come to that.
"Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency unless Mueller did something wrong," the senator said last week.
If the grand jury sees evidence purporting to a crime, prosecutors can begin to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, WSJ explains.