Donald Trump said he hoped for a “truly honest” outcome from the Russia investigation amid reports that special counsel Robert Mueller has convened a grand jury in Washington to investigate the allegations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.
The grand jury has issued subpoenas in connection with a meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer in June 2016, according to Reuters.
It began its work in recent weeks and is a ramping up of Mueller’s inquiry into Russia’s efforts to influence the election and whether it colluded with Mr Trump’s campaign.
A grand jury’s deliberations are secret and its existence was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
At a campaign rally in West Virginia, Mr Trump slammed the investigation as a “fake story that is demeaning to all of us and most of all demeaning to our country and demeaning to our Constitution.”
“I just hope the final determination is a truly honest one, which is what the millions of people who gave us our big win in November deserve and what all Americans who want a better future want and deserve,” the president told thousands of supporters at an arena in Huntington.
Mr Trump, who remains agitated over the investigation into allegations of coordination between his campaign associates and Russian government officials, said Democrats had a decision to make.
“They can continue their obsession with the hoax or they can serve the interests of the American people,” he said.
Mr Trump maintains there were no ties between his campaign and Russia and says no wrongdoing was committed. His frustration over the investigation peaked in recent weeks as he began attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation. Mr Sessions, most recently a US senator, was an early and ardent Trump supporter.
“Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign. We didn’t win because of Russia. We won because of you,” he told the crowd in West Virginia.
Explainer | What is a grand jury?
Mr Trump argued that Democrats are pushing the “totally made-up Russia story” because “they have no message, no agenda and no vision.”
“The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics,” he said, referring to his victory over Hillary Clinton. “It just makes them feel better when they have nothing else to talk about.”