First Charges Filed In US Special Counsel's Russia Investigation

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller has secured at least one indictment in his wide-ranging investigation into possible collusion between the 2016 election campaign of President Donald Trump and the Russian government. A federal grand jury handed down the indictment on Friday, but a federal judge ordered it sealed; so it remains unclear who has been indicted or what charges are involved. Media reports suggest the indictment could be unsealed as early as Monday, with one or more suspects taken into custody.

US intelligence agencies concluded in January that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the aim of helping Republican candidate Donald Trump defeat the Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton. The interference appeared in the form of an electronic hacking operation that broke into the email account of at least one senior Clinton campaign official. Emails that were deemed embarrassing were released to the public via social media as part of a detailed propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting her candidacy.

Mueller, the special prosecutor and former director of the FBI, is trying to determine if Trump's campaign team colluded with the Russians in their efforts. Mueller was given sweeping powers to investigate possible wrongdoing when he was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May. "If the Special Counsel finds it necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters," Rosenstein wrote in a letter appointing Mueller back in May. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller has declined to comment on the indictment.


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