First criminal charges ‘have been filed’ in Russian probe

The first charges have been filed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, a report by CNN suggests.

A federal judge in Washington DC ordered the charges to remain sealed. It remains unclear what the nature of the charges might be.

Law enforcement officials were notified to be prepared to take individuals mentioned in the documents into custody as early as Monday, according to CNN.

A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on the matter.

Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 general election in May.

Meanwhile, the White House appeared confident that Mueller’s investigation would soon be drawing to close, saying it was President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent that should be worried.

‘If anyone was colluding with the Russians to influence the election, look no further than the (Bill and Hillary Clinton) and the DNC,’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News.

‘Everything that the Clinton campaign and the DNC were falsely accusing this president of doing over the past year they were actually doing themselves, it turns out,’ she added.

Sanders earlier said during a White House press briefing that media attention and money spent investigating the matter is a waste.

‘Your news organizations have actually spent probably a lot of money on this…we would consider probably a pretty big waste,’ Sanders told reporters.

Mueller was appointed to the special counsel position following Trump’s abrupt firing of the FBI chief James Comey, tasked with finding out if the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to gain an advantage during the campaign.

Mueller, Comey’s predecessor at the FBI, is also looking into possible obstruction of justice charges by the president, who may have tried to hamper the investigation.