According to a source near the special counsel investigation, Mueller is preparing to zero in on possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russians who meddled in the 2016 presidential election Bloomberg reports.
Mueller and his team of prosecutors and investigators have an eye toward producing conclusions — and possible indictments — related to collusion by fall, said the person, who asked not to be identified. He’ll be able to turn his full attention to the issue as he resolves other questions, including deciding soon whether to find that Trump sought to obstruct justice.
Mueller’s office has declined to comment.
Speculation surrounds the special counsel’s investigation as Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign manager, faces trials in Virgina and Washington DC in July and September, respectively, and recently was taken into custody to await trial after being accused of witness tampering.
Warning signs of Russian interference arose early on, according to Bloomberg.
Signs of suspicious Russian contacts first surfaced in late 2015, especially among U.S. allies who were conducting surveillance against Russians, according to a former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
By the spring of 2016 the frequent contacts set off alarm bells among U.S. intelligence officials, according to James Clapper, who was director of national intelligence at the time. The FBI’s Russia investigation officially began that July.
“The dashboard warning lights were on for all of us because of the meetings,” Clapper said in an interview this month. “We may not have known much about the content of these meetings, but it was certainly very curious why so many meetings with Russians.”
On at least three occasions, Russians offered dirt on Trump’s Democratic opponent to individuals close to the campaign. Bloomberg points out that at least 13 individuals close to the Trump campaign have had suspicious contacts with Russians – some have long been known, while other contacts such as Stone and Caputo have only recently been revealed.
- Michael Cohen
- Michael Flynn
- George Papadopoulos
- Jared Kushner
- Michael Caputo
- Roger Stone
- Paul Manafort
- Donald Trump, Jr.
- Carter Page
- Jeff Sessions
- J.D. Gordon
- Rick Gates
- Erik Prince
⊕ Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel on May 17, 2017.
⊕ President Trump has repeatedly claimed that there was no collusion and calls the investigation a ‘witch hunt‘.
⊕ Several Trump associates have been indicted on charges unrelated to election interference.
- Flynn, Papadopoulos, Rick Gates have all plead guilty.
- Paul Manafort faces over 300 years in prison.
⊕ Alex van der Zwaan plead guilty and has completed his sentence.
⊕ Mueller has indicted 13 Russians nationals and 3 Russian entities for election interference.
- Richard Pinedo, a California resident, plead guilty to identity fraud in the case.