The first criminal charges have been issued in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election, CNN reported on Friday.
From the network:
A federal grand jury in Washington, DC, on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources briefed on the matter.
The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.
CNN did not report who was being indicted. The network reported that on Friday the top lawyers leading the probe, “were seen entering the court room at the DC federal court where the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the Russia investigation.”
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort was under investigation by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office for possible money laundering. In July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a pre-dawn raid on his home.
Former Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page spoke with Senate investigators for five hours on Friday, according to NBC News. Last summer, the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to monitor his communications as part of its investigation into Russia.
Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified before both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees this week. According to NBC, “there was an extended focus on emails he received in 2015 from Felix Sater, a former Trump associate with a criminal past, about a potential deal to open a Trump Tower in the Russian capital.” At the time, Sater wrote to Cohen: “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”
Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the election as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” This has reportedly come to include a direct investigation of President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice in the Russia affair.
Trump fired the previous leader of the investigation, former FBI Director James Comey, using the pretext that Comey had screwed up the Hillary Clinton email case in 2016. Afterwards he said on television that he had fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.
Comey, in contemporaneous memos, documented private meetings with Trump in which the former FBI Director claimed he was pressured to drop an investigation into former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Flynn was fired for lying to Vice President Trump Mike Pence about discussions regarding former President Obama’s sanctions on Russia in private meetings with the Russian ambassador. He also reportedly misled the FBI about this meeting.
Senior Trump official and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has had to file at least three updates to his SF-86 national security questionnaire since he entered the White House after failing to disclose meetings with Russians and Russian officials.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the credibility of Mueller’s investigation. On Friday he again claimed on Twitter that the various investigations into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia have turned up nothing:
Also on Friday, Rep. Trent Franks again called for Mueller’s resignation, while Trump ally and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie suggested he should possibly resign. Trump reportedly wanted to fire Mueller this summer and was talked out of it by his staff, though he has publicly said otherwise.