The US federal grand jury on the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election which saw Donald Trump rise to power has moved to file charges in the case.
The nature, subject and target of the charges are sealed under orders of the judge handling the case. Plans are reportedly in place to take into custody any individual named as soon as Monday (30 October), CNN reported.
A spokesperson for special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and any Russian efforts to influence the election, declined to comment.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation, would have been made aware of the charges before they were taken before the grand jury for approval.
On Friday (27 October), reporters on the scene observed top lawyers involved in the probe, including prosecutor Andrew Weissman, entering a DC federal court where the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the case. There was much activity in the court, but no official announcement made.
Mueller has reportedly been granted broad authority to investigate Trump and his aides for links to foreign governments, possible money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes. The investigation also looks into whether Trump and his aides obstructed justice.
Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, who was heading a federal probe into collusion with Russia. Trump later went on TV and cited "this Russia thing" as the reason for his firing of Comey.
So far the investigation is known to have interviewed White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, former press secretary Sean Spicer, and other former and current White House officials.
Michael Flynn, a trump campaign adviser and briefly the national security adviser, has also been scrutinised for his $600,000 contract to discredit US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Turkey of orchestrating the failed coup in that country in 2016.
Flynn was fired from his security adviser post after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
The home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was raided in July. Manafort is being investigated by Mueller's team for financial and real estate dealings and work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.