- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 28, 2017

A federal grand jury in Washington has reportedly approved the first criminal charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

CNN and Reuters reported that an indictment was approved Friday.

The criminal charges are reportedly filed under seal, so it was unclear who is the target or what the charges entail.

Mr. Mueller was appointed in May to probe Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. election and any coordination between the Kremlin and associates of President Trump’s campaign. He is also authorized to investigate any matters that arise directly out of that investigation.

CNN reported that the target of the indictment could be taken into custody as soon as Monday.

Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment.

The development comes months after the special counsel team intensified its focus on Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and raided his Virginia home in search of tax documents and foreign banking records. Mr. Manafort previously worked for a Ukrainian political party.

Mr. Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, said Saturday he had “heard nothing” about any criminal charges.

Mr. Mueller’s team is also said to probing why the White House kept on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn after the Justice Department warned that he had withheld information about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Mr. Mueller’s team has also expressed interest in events said to be significant to the investigation, including Mr. Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey and the president’s involvement in crafting an initial statement about his eldest son’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer. Investigators sought interviews with six current and former White House advisers on those matters.

Mr. Trump has refuted allegations his campaign colluded with Russia, referring to the special counsel investigation as a “witch hunt.”

Mr. Trump, a prolific user of Twitter, has yet to say anything about the reported indictments. As of Saturday afternoon, he had tweeted at least three times but said nothing about the developments in the special counsel’s investigation.

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