A U.S. federal grand jury has approved the first charges in an investigation of Russian influence on U.S. elections, according to several major news outlets.
The grand jury’s action, resulting from the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller, was first reported by CNN on Friday evening. It quoted sources as saying anyone who was charged could be taken into custody as soon as Monday. The exact charges were unclear.
Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and NBC News subsequently issued similar reports. All the reports were attributed to unnamed sources.
President Donald Trump on Saturday visited his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. He sent three tweets but they did not refer to the reports.
On Friday evening, the president did post a social media message linking to a New York Post story headlined: How Team Hillary played the press for fools on Russia.
White House officials have not commented on the president’s activities Saturday, but he was seen by VOA News exiting the north portico of the residence, clad in slacks, a windbreaker, what appeared to be white golf shoes and a baseball cap before entering a black vehicle for the 40-minute ride in the presidential motorcade to his private club along the Potomac River.
CNN said lawyers working on Mueller’s team were seen entering the federal courtroom in Washington, D.C., on Friday, where the grand jury meets to hear testimony.
Mueller has kept a tight lid on information about the probe, and a spokesman for Mueller’s office declined requests for comment on the media reports about the indictment.
Working since May
Mueller was appointed special counsel in May, shortly after the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, to look into allegations that the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia to win the election. He is also examining the possibility that the president may have tried to interfere with the Russia investigation.
The probe also is examining possible financial ties between Russian businesses and members of the Trump campaign, and foreign lobbying conducted by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
In addition to Mueller’s probe, three congressional committees are conducting their own investigations into possible Russian influence on the election.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday told reporters it was “a pretty big waste” for the news media to investigate connections between Trump associates and Russia. Her comment was made in response to a question about Trump’s tweeting earlier in the day that it was “commonly agreed” there had been no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia.
“It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC!” the president tweeted.
HC is a reference to Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic nominee whom Trump defeated in last November’s presidential election.
VOA’s Marissa Melton contributed to this report.