USâÂÂspecial counsel Robert Mueller is leading the probe into alleged ties between Russia and Trump. Pic/AFP
A grand jury has issued subpoenas in connection with a June 2016 meeting that included President Donald Trump's son, his son-in-law and a Russian lawyer, two sources said on Thursday, signalling an investigation is gathering pace into suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
The sources added that US Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened the grand jury investigation in Washington to help examine allegations of Russian interference in the vote. One of the sources said it was assembled in recent weeks.
Moscow denies any meddling and Trump denies any collusion by his campaign, while regularly denouncing the investigations as political witch hunts. Mueller's use of a grand jury could give him expansive tools to pursue evidence, including issuing subpoenas and compelling witnesses to testify. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported a grand jury was impaneled. A spokesman for Mueller declined comment. A grand jury is a group of ordinary citizens who, working behind closed doors, considers evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing that a prosecutor is investigating and decides whether charges should be brought.
Legislation proposed to protect Mueller
Republican and Democratic senators introduced two pieces of legislation on Thursday seeking to block President Donald Trump from firing the special counsel probing his ties to Russia, as Congress increasingly seeks to assert its authority on policy.
"Our bill allows judicial review of any decision to terminate a counsel to make sure it's done for the reasons cited in the regulations rather than political motivation," said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who co-sponsored one of the bills. A second measure was introduced by Republican Senator Thom Tillis and Democratic Senator Chris Coons.
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