In recent weeks, reports appeared on social media from a “Washington Insider” claiming to have sources telling him that a grand jury investigation into the Donald Trump connections to Russia was underway. In fact, former White House staffer under President Bill Clinton Claude Taylor said there were two grand jury investigations, a number he later revised upward.
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
Taylor’s claim was widely ridiculed, and even the liberal political blog the Daily Kos wrote that Taylor was not a “reputable source” when it came to reporting on the Trump Russia investigation.
But it now appears that Taylor will have the last laugh, because according to a CNN exclusive report Tuesday, the United States Attorney’s Office in Arlington, Virginia, has now handed out grand jury subpoenas in the Trump Russia investigation.
The CNN report did not pinpoint exactly when the subpoenas were issued, but the network’s website said that its reporters learned of the subpoenas “hours before President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey.”
Trump suddenly and unexpectedly fired Comey late Tuesday afternoon, citing Comey’s bungled handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as a reason for the firing. But members of Congress and the media were not buying the stated rationale, given Comey’s revelation before the House Intelligence Committee in March that the FBI has been conducting an investigation into the Trump Russia scandal since July of 2016.
“It is an abuse of power if the FBI was in fact investigating the president of the United States. For the president to fire someone who has him under active investigation is in my view an abuse of power,” Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said on Tuesday. “If there was every any doubt about the need for a special independent prosecutor, which I’ve been advocating for months, there is no question now.”
Even some Republicans expressed their distress at the abrupt firing of Comey by Trump.
“(Comey’s) removal at this particular time will raise question. It is essential that ongoing investigations are fulsome and free of political interference until their completion, and it is imperative that President Trump nominate a well-respected and qualified individual to lead the bureau at this critical time,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair and Trump adviser Bob Corker, a South Carolina Republican, said after the firing became public.
The grand jury subpoenas, according to CNN, were issued to associates of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned under pressure in February — nearly three weeks after then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House that Flynn had lied about his meetings with Russian officials and might actually be a Russian agent.
The existence of the now-confirmed grand jury investigation into the Trump Russia scandal may itself have been the reason why Trump fired Comey without warning on Tuesday. Watch political commentator Keith Olbermann make that case in the video below.
BREAKING NEWS: You can’t fire the FBI Director who is investigating you. Why’d Trump do it? A Grand Jury. From 5/5: pic.twitter.com/yc09iY8wFt
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) May 9, 2017
CNN legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin also said in an interview on the network that the Comey firing was, in his view, clearly connected to the FBI’s Trump Russia investigation, calling it “a grotesque abuse of power by the President of the United States.”
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