Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The move signals the investigation is ramping up, people familiar with the matter told the paper.
“This is yet a further sign that there is a long-term, large-scale series of prosecutions being contemplated and being pursued by the special counsel,” Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, told the WSJ.
A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment to the WSJ. President Trump has repeatedly called the probe a “witch hunt” and denied any wrongdoing.
Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said he wasn’t aware of Mueller’s decision to impanel a grand jury, telling the WSJ: “The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly. … The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”
Grand juries are a powerful way for prosecutors to subpoena documents and question witnesses. The move may suggest Mueller believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony.
Federal prosecutors have been using at least one other grand jury in Alexandria, Va. in their criminal investigation of Michael Flynn. Mueller has taken over that investigation.
The WSJ cites another sign the investigation is ramping up: Greg Andres, a top partner in a powerful New York law firm has been hired by Mueller.
Mueller, a former FBI Director, has been charged with investigating Russian attempts at influencing the 2016 presidential election as well as possible collision between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
Mueller was appointed after Trump fired former FBI chief James Comey.