clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why the Trump-Russia indictments are being kept secret — for now

A former prosecutor weighs in: It’s actually pretty routine.

Mueller Alex Wong/Getty Images
Dylan Scott covers health care for Vox. He has reported on health policy for more than 10 years, writing for Governing magazine, Talking Points Memo and STAT before joining Vox in 2017.

The first criminal charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe are secret for now — but that doesn’t necessarily tell us much on its own.

Because the indictments are sealed, we don’t yet know who is being charged or what they are being charged with.

Ken White, a libertarian-leaning lawyer and former assistant US attorney who tweets and blogs as “Popehat,” walked through a brief explainer on Saturday morning, after the news that the first criminal charges in Mueller’s investigation of possible Russian government collusion with the Trump presidential campaign had been approved by a federal grand jury.

The takeaway was: Sealing charges is pretty routine. It prevents the target of an indictment from knowing they’re about to be charged and arrested, which limits the risk of defendants destroying evidence or any shenanigans when they are eventually brought in.

So for the time being, we wait. CNN reported that arrests could be made as soon as Monday.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.