Robert Mueller impanels grand jury focuses on obstruction and financial crimes — Trump

Jared Kushner reads a statement in front of the White House after testifying

Jared Kushner reads a statement in front of the White House after testifying

Donald Trump described Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as a "total fabrication" Thursday amid reports that a special prosecutor has impaneled a grand jury to investigate the issue - a step toward possible criminal indictments.

The special counsel team took over the investigation when Mueller was appointed in May, and prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia were largely taken off the case. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del., would allow any special counsel for the Department of Justice to challenge his or her removal in court.

Jim Justice says he's switching parties to join the Republicans as President Donald Trump visited the increasingly conservative state.

On the recording, the reporter called the entire story that the Trump presidential campaign and transition team colluded with Russia "a Brennan operation". "It's just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics".

SHAPIRO: Now, there was already a grand jury in the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Va., that was involved with this inquiry.

Trump's defense team has been looking into potential conflicts of interest among members of Mueller's team, such as past political contributions to Democrats including Hillary Clinton, and Trump has warned that any effort by Mueller to look into his finances would fall outside the scope of Mueller's appointment. For the target of a grand jury investigation, cooperation is a sucker play guaranteed to result in disaster.

Trump says they spoke a few weeks ago about working together to open coal mines and create jobs in furniture manufacturing and other forms of manufacturing.

"It's a significant escalation of the process", national security attorney Bradley Moss told AFP. "I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous if you want to know the truth from that standpoint".

A White House adviser said the president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had not received subpoenas, nor had the White House.

Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said he had no knowledge of a grand jury, and that these matters are usually kept secret.

But according to US intelligence community, there is plenty of evidence of meddling, which prompted an FBI probe, which Mueller was assigned to take over after Trump fired FBI chief James Comey.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was not likely the subject of the investigation. "This suggests that the investigation is bigger and wider than Flynn, perhaps substantially so".

He says that he recently visited the White House twice with proposals on manufacturing and coal, that neither he nor Trump are politicians and they both ran to get something done.

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a pair of sources close to the probe that the development is a sign that the investigation is gaining steam. Then president Bill Clinton was forced to give details about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, evidence that was used in his impeachment.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

The euro traded at $1.1845, after having risen to as high as $1.19105 on Wednesday, its highest level since January 2015.

While it is uncertain how long Mueller's investigation will last, University of Texas law professor Stephen I. Vladeck contends that Mueller's impaneling of a grand jury indicates that the special counsel is intent on engaging in a series of prosecutions.

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