First Charges Filed In Mueller’s Russia Probe
A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., reportedly has approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, CNN said Friday evening. According to the network, the charges are sealed under order from a federal judge. It remains unclear who has been indicted and on what charges. The person or persons indicted could be taken into custody as soon as Monday, CNN said.
Federal officials have not yet validated the CNN report. However, if confirmed, it would mark a major development in the special counsel’s probe. “If anybody thinks the Mueller investigation is going to be wrapping up, this decision guarantees it will go well into 2018,” CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May, following President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to fire FBI Director James Comey amid the agency’s investigation into possible Russian meddling.
Mueller was tasked with overseeing the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election, along with any matters that directly arise from the investigation. Since then, reports have emerged that Mueller’s team was probing possible tax and financial crimes by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. FBI agents raided Manafort’s home in July, seizing documents and other items.
Manafort retroactively registered as a foreign agent earlier this year after having failed to disclose that his lobbying firm was paid $17.1 million for work on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine from 2012 to 2014. Mueller’s team is reportedly also looking into a dossier containing explosive, unverified allegations regarding Trump and his associates, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele for the research firm Fusion GPS. Mueller is a former prosecutor and served as FBI director from 2001 to 2013.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.