In a sign that special counsel Robert Mueller is laying the foundation for the cases he’s brought to live on even after he wraps up his own Russia investigation, two federal prosecutors not on his team joined his case Friday against Russians accused of meddling in the 2016 election on social media.
The two Justice Department attorneys —Heather Alpino of its National Security Division, and Jonathan Kravis, who works in the D.C. U.S. attorneys office — entered appearances on the docket in the case Mueller has brought against the Russians in February.
The Washington Post reported, based on people familiar with the personnel move, that the two attorneys are not joining Mueller’s investigation but rather are being put in place to potentially take over the case once Mueller’s probe wraps up.
Thirteen Russian individuals have been charged by Mueller, as have other entities, but only one company, Concord Management, has shown up in court so far to fight the case.
Mueller previously turned over a Michael Cohen-related matter to prosecutors in Manhattan’s U.S. attorneys office, who are in the midst of a criminal probe into President Trump’s longtime fixer.
The case Mueller brought against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort heads to trials next month and later this fall, in Virginia and D.C., respectively.
Former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his Russian contacts during the campaign, may have a sentencing date as soon as Sept. 7, according to a proposal filed by him and Mueller Friday that may be a sign that his cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation is coming to a close.