Donald Trump’s campaign officials could face indictment over the growing Russia scandal, with three grand juries reportedly convened and moving forward regardless of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Comey’s abrupt firing on Tuesday cast even more doubt on a Russia scandal that has been expanding for several weeks. There are allegations that Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russian hackers during the 2016 election for the release of stolen emails damaging Hillary Clinton.
A dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official claimed that Russia had been working for years to cultivate Trump as a candidate, compiling information that could be used to blackmail Trump while also offering him lucrative financial deals. The dossier, parts of which have been confirmed but large portions remain unverified, claimed that Trump would lessen sanctions on Russia in exchange for their support in the election.
FBI Director James Comey had been overseeing the investigation on whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
As the New York Times noted, there were immediate questions about whether Donald Trump was trying to sink the Russia investigation. Trump offered another explanation, saying that Comey was fired for his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which was re-opened in the days before the election before being closed again.
“The abrupt firing raised questions over whether Mr. Trump was trying to influence the Russia investigation. But he said he was following recommendations from the Justice Department, which criticized how Mr. Comey concluded the investigation into Mrs. Clinton.”
At the time, however, Trump praised James Comey for having the guts to re-open the investigation.
“What he did brought back his reputation,” Trump said (via the New York Times).
But there are already indications that Comey’s firing will not hold back the Russia investigation, and there could soon be indictments for those involved. Former White House official Claude Taylor, who has been sharing inside information on the alleged investigations into Donald Trump campaign’s coordination with Russia during the 2016 election, reported that there are now three separate grand juries convened on the Russia scandal.
There are 3 grand juries on the Federal level working on TrumpRussia. There were two-now there are 3. The 3rd has been set up just for FISA.
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 9, 2017
While the investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia will continue after the firing of James Comey, there is plenty of doubt cast on whether there are grand jury indictments coming. Daily Kos writer Bob Johnson noted that the reports of the indictments come largely from Taylor, who has been wrong on past predictions including the impending resignation of Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
There is at least one other backing Claude Taylor’s assertions of indictments in the Russia investigation. Republican political insider Rick Wilson had also backed a previous report from Taylor claiming at the time that there were two grand juries.
Political commentator Keith Olbermann has also reported on the alleged grand jury indictments coming, though most of his information has been culled from Taylor.
BREAKING NEWS: Trump fires Comey. The real reason? From Friday: Comey seemingly confirmed Trump-Russia Grand Jury pic.twitter.com/yc09iY8wFt
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) May 9, 2017
Bill Palmer, a political blogger who has previously shared inside information into Trump’s campaign, has also said that the indictments could target lower Trump campaign staffers in an effort to work their way up to Donald Trump himself.
“Our presumption continues to be that the FBI’s strategy has been to bust Donald Trump’s underlings for their alleged crimes, in an effort to get them to flip on Trump himself,” he wrote in Palmer Report. “These two indictments are a sign that the FBI has what it needs and is merely getting its ducks in a row before those busts begin.”
James Comey’s firing will also not impede on two other investigations into Trump’s alleged ties with Russia, taking place in both the House and Senate.
— POLITICO (@politico) May 9, 2017
And there are already calls from some committee members to have James Comey return to testify about the investigation into potential ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
— KGW News (@KGWNews) May 9, 2017
If it is true that grand juries are preparing indictments into Donald Trump’s campaign for ties to Russia, it is not clear when they could be completed or who might be targeted.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images]