Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C. for investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential race, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reported Thursday that two people familiar with the matter confirmed Mueller’s legal move.
The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, is reportedly a sign that Mueller’s investigation is escalating and will likely last for months.
Mueller is probing Russian attempts to intrude in the 2016 contest, including possible collusion between Russia and President Trump’s election campaign.
Some Twitter users on Thursday cheered the news that Mueller had impaneled a grand jury, which is potentially a significant investigative tool.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections. YES!— EaglesFan (@PHLEaglesPhan) August 3, 2017
Other people on the social media platform voiced displeasure at the maneuveur, with some arguing it undermines Trump.
Grand juries can reportedly allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments if there is evidence of a crime.
Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, told the Journal that he was unaware Mueller had started assembling a new grand jury.
“Grand jury matters are typically secret,” he said. “The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of [Mueller’s] work fairly.”
“The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller,” Cobb added of the former FBI director.
Federal prosecutors were using at least one other grand jury before Mueller was made special counsel in May.
The first grand jury, which is located in Alexandria, Virginia, is meant to assist the criminal probe of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Flynn investigation has since been taken over by Mueller’s team, and it is scrutinizing the former Trump administration official’s private sector work for foreign interests.
Trump has repeatedly characterizing Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” against him and his administration.
The Russia investigation has often dogged Trump’s presidency so far, with the topic at times drowning out his agenda in the media.