Here’s who could be indicted as part of Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump-Russia collusion
UPDATE: Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman to U.S. President Donald Trump, has reportedly been ordered to turn himself into the FBI as part of the first indictment in to the probe of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
While the charges are currently sealed per a federal judge’s orders, speculation about potential indictments has been swirling ever since CNN broke the news on Friday. At least one defendant could be taken into custody Monday, the Washington Post reported.
The two names being bandied about by most observers are those of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served as Trump’s national security adviser
Mueller is widely understood to be looking into foreign lobbying and financial dealings of both Flynn and Manafort; however, any person who has been investigated as part of Mueller’s broad-ranging probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia could potentially be indicted.
Here are some of the members of Trump’s early inner circle, who could find themselves in Mueller’s cross-hairs:
On Saturday, Buzzfeed News reported that investigators are examining at least 13 suspicious wire transfers in which offshore entities linked to Manafort transferred over $3 million to recipients in different parts of the world.
At least four of the transfers were initiated by a political consulting firm owned by Manafort, and which counted the controversial former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych among its clients, according to Buzzfeed News.
Manafort was forced to resign two months into his tenure as Trump’s campaign chairman due to controversy over his ties to the Kremlin-backed Yanukovych, who is currently exiled in Russia.
In July, federal investigators raided Manafort’s condo, seizing documents and copying computer files, the New York Times reported. Manafort was told in no uncertain terms that prosecutors planned to indict him.
According to Politico, the realtor who helped Manafort buy the condo testified in front of a federal grand jury last week, further boosting the notion that Manafort is one the most likely candidates for indictment.
The brevity of Manafort’s tenure as Trump’s campaign chairman was bested by Flynn, who served as President Trump’s national security adviser for just 24 days before being forced to resign.
Flynn was pushed out after it was revealed that he lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about whether he had conversations with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Flynn initially denied having had any significant conversations with Kislyak, but later admitted that he had given “incomplete information” on the matter.
The conversations are problematic because Flynn is accused of talking to Kislyak about sanctions slapped against Russia by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
Flynn also failed to disclose payments received from Russian government-owned television network Russia Today for a speech that he gave in Moscow, according to White House documents.
Days after Flynn was fired, Russia Today’s English-language website published an interview with alt-right activist Mike Cernovich, in which Cernovich railed against Republican elites, Democrats and the “fake news media” for looking to oust Flynn to delegitimize Trump’s presidency.
Former FBI director James Comey later revealed that Trump pressured him to drop his investigation of Flynn, further arousing suspicions of the three-star general’s relationship with Russia.
Michael Flynn Jr.
Mueller’s indictments could potentially affect more than one member of the Flynn family. NBC News reported in September that Michael Flynn’s son was being investigated by Mueller over his work for his father’s lobbying and consulting firm.
Flynn Jr. was a member of Trump’s transition team before departing from his role amid controversy surrounding him tweeting the unsubstantiated “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which alleged Hillary Clinton’s allies were operating a pedophilia ring in a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant. The theory prompted a shooting at the restaurant.
According to Politico, Mueller’s team could go after Flynn Jr. in order to coax his father to cooperate with the investigation.
Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner
President Trump’s eldest son and son-in-law have also been reported to be of interest to Mueller. The pair met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016, with Trump’s then-campaign chairman Manafort also present.
Manafort said the meeting concerned U.S.-Russia child adoption agreements, but Trump Jr. would later release emails which revealed he attended the meeting after being promised damaging information about Clinton’s relationship with Russia.
“I love it,” Trump Jr. wrote in one email in response to the offer.
WATCH: Emails from Trump Jr. reveal collusion with Russia
Not helping Trump Jr.’s case is the fact that he put out a statement saying that nothing substantial came out of the Trump Tower meeting, but days later told Senate judiciary committee members that he didn’t remember details of the White House’s involvement in crafting said statement, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, Kushner, who is married to Trump Jr.’s sister Ivanka Trump, reportedly proposed setting up a communications back-channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin, during the Trump Tower meeting
Reuters reported that Kushner had at least three undisclosed contacts with ambassador Kislyak, but his attorney told Reuters that Kushner “has no recollection of the calls as described.”
A former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, Page has previously been suspected of spying on behalf of Russia.
The FBI obtained a secret warrant to monitor Page’s communications after they convinced a judge that there was reason to suspect he might’ve been working for the Kremlin, the Washington Post reported in April.
Earlier this month, Page told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he would plead the Fifth Amendment in response to requests for him to share documents pertaining to his communications with Russia.
As of Sunday night, neither Page nor any other Trump confidante has been confirmed to be the target of an impending indictment stemming from special counsel Mueller’s investigation.
But multiple news outlets report that the first indictments and arrests are likely to come in the coming days, which are likely to yield new developments in the long-running Trump-Russian collusion saga and investigation.
For his part, Trump responded to the reports by publishing a series of tweets slamming the investigation.
— With files from Global News reporter Jessica Vomiero, the Associated Press and Reuters
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