Trump adviser Stone's ex-aide refuses to appear before grand jury

Mark Wilson  Getty Images North America

Andrew Miller, a former associate of longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, did not appear for a scheduled grand jury hearing on Friday, defying a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller, according to his attorney.

"There's been no authority, we say, that gives the Justice Department the power to appoint Mr. Mueller", Kamenar told reporters outside the courthouse in Washington after Miller was held in contempt for refusing to appear before the grand jury.

Mueller is probing Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election, and Miller's subpoena is the latest to suggest the special counsel's probe is focusing at least in part on Stone, an early Trump backer with a reputation as an aggressive political operative.

In a related development, another Stone associate, comedian and talk show host Randy Credico confirmed that he had been subpoenaed by the special counsel's office, which is probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Russian Federation has denied meddling in the election.

Stone himself has not yet been questioned or subpoenaed in the investigation.

Miller worked for Stone during Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. She was released in 2016, after Stone had left the Trump campaign.

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Stone told CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week that he has not been contacted by the special counsel's office and said that while he "would not rule out cooperating", with the investigation, he would not testify against Trump.

Miller's lawyer in June said he would seek to quash the subpoena.

In addition to Miller, John Kakanis, described as a personal assistant to Stone, along with social media expert Jason Sullivan, were subpoenaed by the special counsel over the spring.

Stone, who served as an unofficial adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential race, has acknowledged he communicated with Guccifer 2.0 - the fictitious online persona through which Kremlin intelligence operatives disseminated stolen documents from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, as Mueller outlined in a 29-page indictment of Russian officials who coordinated the Kremlin's interference in the United States election.

The move also spotlighted a growing focus by Mueller on Stone.

Kamenar also said a prosecutor with powers as broad as Mueller's should be treated like a USA attorney and be subject to Senate confirmation.

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