The White House said today that it was unaware of a grand jury being impaneled in the Russia investigation, but pledged cooperation in the probe.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of the grand jury. ABC News later confirmed the panel's existence with a source familiar with the matter.
Ty Cobb, the special counsel to the president, said he was unaware a grand jury was being utilized by Dept. of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller in his probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, according to a statement released by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
"Grand jury matters are typically secret," Cobb said in a statement.
"The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly … The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller," he added.
The source reached by ABC News said the grand jury began weeks ago in Washington, D.C., separate from an additional grand jury underway in Alexandria, Virginia as part of the special counsel's inquiry into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's actions. The panel permits Mueller's team to subpoena materials, question witnesses under oath and potentially issue formal charges.
A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment for this story.
In an appearance on Fox News Thursday afternoon after the report of the grand jury became public, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said that the action was "not a surprise," categorizing it as "standard operating procedure" and repeating that there was no reason to believe Trump was being personally targeted.
"We have no reason to believe the president is under investigation here," said Sekulow.
Asked about the prospect of Trump firing Mueller, a decision that would have to be made by Rod Rosenstein, the acting attorney general in matters related to the election, Sekulow denied it was a consideration.
"The president is not thinking about firing Bob Mueller," he said.
Any attempt by Trump to coerce Mueller's firing could be made more difficult if bipartisan efforts in the Senate to prevent such an act are successful. Two separate bills introduced this week aim to hinder the firing of a special counsel. One, introduced by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Thom Tillis, R-NC, would allow a counsel to challenge his or her removal, while the other, proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Cory Booker, D-NJ, could require a federal judge to approve a dismissal.
ABC News' Justin Fishel, Jordyn Phelps, Geneva Sands and Trish Turner contributed to this report.