U.S. spe­cial coun­sel’s Rus­sia probe en­ter­ing new phase with first charges

Stabroek News - - WORLD NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON, (Reuters) - The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 U.S. pres­i­den­tial election will en­ter a new phase as early as to­day, when the first charges re­sult­ing from the probe could be un­sealed and a tar­get taken into cus­tody.

A fed­eral grand jury ap­proved the in­dict­ment on Fri­day and a fed­eral judge or­dered it sealed, a source briefed on the mat­ter has told Reuters, adding it could be un­sealed as soon as Mon­day.

The in­dict­ment could mark a dra­matic turn in spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 race and any pos­si­ble links with of­fi­cials from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign.

The Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion has cast a shadow over Trump’s 9-month-old pres­i­dency and widened the par­ti­san rift be­tween Repub­li­cans and Democrats.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies con­cluded in Jan­uary that Rus­sia in­ter­fered in the election to try to help Trump de­feat Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton by hack­ing and re­leas­ing em­bar­rass­ing emails and dis­sem­i­nat­ing pro­pa­ganda via so­cial media to dis­credit her.

Mueller, a for­mer di­rec­tor of the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, has been look­ing into pos­si­ble links be­tween Trump aides and for­eign gov­ern­ments, as well as po­ten­tial money laun­der­ing, tax eva­sion and other fi­nan­cial crimes, ac­cord­ing to sources fa­mil­iar with the probe. He also is ex­plor­ing whether Trump or his aides have tried to ob­struct the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mueller was ap­pointed to lead the in­ves­ti­ga­tion a week af­ter Trump’s May 9 fir­ing of FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey, who was head­ing a fed­eral probe into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion with Rus­sia. Trump ini­tially said he fired Comey be­cause his lead­er­ship of the FBI was in­ad­e­quate. In a later in­ter­view with NBC, he cited “this Rus­sia thing” as his rea­son.

Trump has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions of col­lu­sion with the Rus­sians and called the probe “a witch hunt.” The Krem­lin also has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.