Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is reportedly ready to lay charges over Russia's alleged meddling in the US election.
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is reportedly ready to lay charges over Russia's alleged meddling in the US election. J. Scott Applewhite

Probe closes in on Trump camp's Russia ties

THE office of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will tonight make public the details of an indictment resulting from his probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the US election, according to reports - a development that sharply escalates the stakes for Donald Trump and his administration.

While Mr Mueller is yet to make any public comment on possible charges, it has been reported that a grand jury in Washington, working with the prosecutor, has approved the first charges to result from the ongoing probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The reports have not specified what the charges are or who they are to be filed against.

Now, it has been reported, the details of the indictment and the person or persons to be charged will be announced by Mr Mueller's office on Monday.

CNN has reported the charges have been placed under a seal by a federal judge.

NBC News then said it had confirmed the details were to be released on Monday and that anyone charged could be taken into custody.

On Friday, senior lawyers who are working for Mr Mueller, including veteran prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, were seen entering the courtroom at the Washington Federal Court, where the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the Russia investigation.

Under the regulations governing special counsel investigations, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight over the Russia investigation, would have been made aware of any charges before they were taken before the grand jury for approval, CNN said.

While there has been no announcement, or confirmed reports, as to who might be charged, there has been intense speculation. It has previously been reported that Mr Mueller was looking at Mr Trump's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

In July, FBI agents raided the Virginia home of Mr Manafort, who served as Mr Trump's campaign manager until August 2016, when he resigned as details emerged of his dealing with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. It was reported on Saturday that Mr Manafort was not aware of any impending charges.

Mr Trump has repeatedly denied his campaign in any way colluded with Russia to affect the outcome of the election and described the federal probe against him a witch-hunt.

The White House has sought to move attention away from any possible charges against former members of Mr Trump's team, by highlighting the news that the research team that helped produce the now notorious Steele Dossier on Mr Trump, had been paid directly by Ms Clinton's campaign.

White House press secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders, wrote on Twitter: "The evidence Clinton campaign, DNC and Russia colluded to influence the election is indisputable.”

Andrew Buncombe, The Independent