A federal grand jury in Washington on Friday approved the first charges within the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling within the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters.
The filing of the sealed charges was first reported by CNN.
The charges are sealed under orders by a federal judge, along with the idea was not clear what the charges were, adding of which anyone facing charges could be taken into custody as soon as Monday.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January of which Russia interfered within the election to try to help President Donald Trump defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton through a campaign of hacking along with releasing embarrassing emails, along with disseminating propaganda via social media to discredit her campaign.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is actually investigating whether Trump campaign officials colluded with those Russian efforts.
“If the Special Counsel finds the idea necessary along with appropriate, the Special Counsel is actually authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising by the investigation of these matters,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a May 17 letter appointing Mueller.
Sources familiar with Mueller’s investigation said he has used of which broad authority to pursue financial dealings between some Trump aides along with foreign governments, including Russia along with Turkey, as well as possible money laundering, tax evasion along with additional financial crimes.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment to Reuters about the CNN report on Friday.
Trump, a Republican who was elected president last November, has denied allegations of which his campaign colluded with Russians along with condemned investigations into the matter as a witch hunt.
The Kremlin has denied the allegations.
Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department in May to lead the investigation after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was leading a federal investigation into possible collusion with Russia.
In July, FBI agents raided the Virginia home of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, whose financial along with real estate dealings along with prior work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine are being investigated by Mueller’s team.
Mueller’s probe also includes an effort to determine whether the president or any of his aides tried to obstruct justice within the investigation.
Mueller’s team has conducted extensive interviews with former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former spokesman Sean Spicer along with additional current along with former White House officials.
Trump drew criticism when he fired Comey in May. He initially said he moved against Comey because his leadership of the FBI was inadequate along with hurt morale, although in a later interview with NBC he cited “This kind of Russia thing” as his reason.