A federal grand jury approved the first indictment in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election led by Robert Mueller, according to a report from CNN. It is unclear what the charges are as they are sealed under orders from a federal judge.
The as-of-now unknown target of the indictment could be taken into custody as soon as this Monday. In order for a grand jury to approve an indictment, prosecutors must present enough evidence that they believe proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.
The timeline of the Trump-Russia investigation is a long and tangled one, but so far, the investigation has focused primarily on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in addition to obstruction of justice by the President himself. According to CNN, investigators are also examining Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russia. President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied all allegations of Russia's interference going as far as to say, "There is no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians," during an interview with NBC News.
Foreign lobbying orchestrated by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flyyn, and others is also being examined by Mueller and his investigative team. Subpoenas have been issued for documents and testimonies from people close to Manafort and others involved in a meeting between Russians and campaign officials held at Trump Tower. In July, a search warrant was issued and Paul Manafort's home was searched by the FBI. Manafort has also denied any wrongdoing.
Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to lead the investigation in May 2017 shortly after President Donald Trump unexpectedly fired then-FBI Director James Comey. The investigation was first opened during the presidential campaign in July 2016 after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russia interfered in the election in an attempt to help Donald Trump win over Hillary Clinton. It was believed to be done through the use of campaign hacking, dissemination of propaganda, and social media use to disparage Clinton's campaign. As per Rosenstein's order, Mueller is authorized to investigate "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."
Three committees on Capitol Hill are conducting their own investigations separate from Mueller's. As far as the newly approved indictment, neither the special counsel and White House have yet to issue a statement.