WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawyer for President Donald Trump said he has no information to suggest the president is under federal investigation amid a report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury as part of his probe into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel in May, was using a grand jury in Washington. Grand juries are common vehicles to subpoena witnesses and records, though they do not suggest any criminal charges are near. A grand jury in Virginia has been used to gather information on Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.
Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said he wasn’t aware that Mueller had started using a new grand jury.
“Grand jury matters are typically secret,” Cobb said. “The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly. … The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”
John Dowd, another lawyer for Trump, said in a statement to The Associated Press, “With respect to the news of the federal grand jury, I have no reason to believe that the president is under investigation.”
He did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee asked a business partner of Flynn for documents detailing Flynn’s foreign contacts and security clearance, according to a letter released Thursday.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a letter to businessman Bijan Kian that he also wants Kian to produce documents relating to Flynn’s travels and ties to foreign businesses. Cummings said Kian told military security clearance investigators in 2016 that Flynn had work relationships with foreign businesses. But Cummings has said Flynn failed to report those ties.
Cummings’ two-page letter provides new details about Flynn’s possible legal vulnerability over his disclosures to the government after he was forced out of his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in August 2014. The letter also underscores Kian’s importance in federal and congressional inquiries into Flynn, both because of his deep business ties to the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and their years-long personal friendship.
Flynn’s foreign connections are under scrutiny by Mueller and congressional committees probing Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election. Separately, the Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating foreign payments Flynn accepted, and the House oversight committee has been looking into the security clearance issued to Flynn in early 2016.
Reached Thursday, Kian’s attorney, Robert Trout, declined to comment on the letter. Flynn attorney Robert Kelner also declined comment.
According to Cummings’ letter, Flynn listed Kian in January 2016 as a personal reference on his application for a renewed security clearance, which would provide him with the ability to review classified material even though he was no longer with the military. In his interview with investigators, Kian said he had been friends with Flynn since 2008 and he was aware of Flynn’s business travels and contacts.