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First Charges Reportedly Filed In U.S. Probe Into Russian Election Meddling

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a former FBI director.
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a former FBI director.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed charges for the first time against an unidentified target of his investigation into Russian meddling in last year's U.S. presidential election, media reported late on October 27.

CNN and Reuters, citing anonymous sources who were "briefed on the matter," reported that a federal grand jury in Washington approved the first indictment in the Mueller investigation, which was launched in May under a mandate from the Justice Department to maintain independence in addressing possible violations of law by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

CNN, the first to report on the indictment, said the nature of the charges was "unclear." It said they were still sealed under orders from a federal judge, and plans were made on October 27 for anyone charged to be taken into custody next week, possibly as soon as October 30.

CNN said the special counsel's probe had focused on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as possible obstruction of justice by Trump, who in May fired the FBI director, James Comey, who was leading the Russia investigation before Mueller was appointed.

CNN reported that investigators are also scrutinizing Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russia, and have examined lobbying on behalf of foreign governments by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Mueller has previously issued subpoenas for documents and testimony from people close to Manafort as well as other people who were involved in a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in New York between Trump's son Donald Jr., Manafort, and Russians who had offered to provide damaging information about Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Based on reporting by CNN and Reuters

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