Grand jury in Russia probe ‘continuing robustly’, says prosecutor

Democrats in Congress now insist Barr must quickly release its full findings. Barr said he’ll release at least a partial version in April.

But Mueller referred some matters he discovered to US attorneys’ offices. It’s not entirely clear what else a grand jury, whose dealings are generally secret under law, may be considering.


The case in court Wednesday centred on a corporation owned by a foreign government, neither of which have been identified. The corporation was held in contempt for refusing to turn over information demanded by Mueller’s investigators. The Supreme Court had rejected an appeal from the corporation on Monday, and the case is now being handled by prosecutors in Washington.

The corporation has been racking up fines of $US50,000 ($70,000) a day for not complying with the grand jury subpoena for documents. Fines have been accruing since Jan. 15 and could total more than $US3.5 million. New daily fines stop once the grand jury is discharged.

Scepticism mounted over Barr’s four-page synopsis, which was released Sunday and found no evidence President Donald Trump’s campaign «conspired or coordinated» with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election. The longer it takes to release the full findings from special counsel Robert Mueller, the more Democrats, in particular, warn they will question the legitimacy of Barr’s actions.

US Representative Elijah Cummings.

US Representative Elijah Cummings.Credit:Bloomberg

The push came as the House moved ahead with its own oversight of the Trump administration, including an Intelligence Committee hearing scheduled Thursday on Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

Representative Elijah Cummings the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said he was «disappointed» Barr would take weeks, not days, to release the report.

«The president has now an opportunity for weeks, it sounds like, to do these victory laps,» said Cummings, noting that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is among those headed to jail as a result of the probe. «Cohen goes to jail, the president runs a victory lap.»

Attorneys for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a motion seeking access to court filings tied to the subpoena fight that developed during Mueller’s investigation. The attorneys also sought the name of the mystery corporation, arguing in part that although the investigation was closed, the public’s right to know remains.

«It really is a special situation,» Theodore Boutrous, the attorney who represented the press freedom organisation, argued in court. «We have a company, owned by a foreign nation, litigating all the way to the Supreme Court.»

During Wednesday’s hearing, Chief Judge Beryl Howell then asked prosecutors whether a grand jury investigation was continuing despite Mueller handing over his report last week.

«I can say it is continuing robustly,» Goodhand responded.

Howell ruled partially in favour of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, saying that redacted court documents and transcripts from a contempt hearing and other motions could be released, but gave the government time to redact the motions. She didn’t decide on how long they would get to redact the documents, but said she was mindful of the scope of the task.

The judge did not say whether she would release the name of the corporation or country. Attorneys for the mystery corporation attended the hearing Wednesday, only to say their client would prefer not to be publicly outed and would also prefer not to say why in open court.

Boutrous said he was pleased with the ruling. He said he was hopeful the judge will eventually make the name of the corporation public.


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