Mueller Probe’s First Act: Leak to CNN

CNN exclusively reported Friday night that Mueller’s team had filed charges

The Russia investigation into President Trump's alleged collusion with Russia is being conducted by former FBI director Robert Mueller, who on Friday saw the grand jury he impaneled hand down an indictment.

At least one person could face arrest as soon as this Monday. 

But while the charges remain sealed until Monday, one news organization had the scoop Friday night. 

CNN exclusively reported the major development Friday night, citing anonymous sources connected to the probe. 

The news channel reports

A federal grand jury in Washington, DC, on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources briefed on the matter.

The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.

A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment.

Mueller has recently come under criticism for his role conducting the Russian probe. As the FBI director who oversaw his agency's investigation into Uranium One and Russian racketeering, some have argued he's not a disinterested observer on matters related to the FBI's reputation investigating Russia. The Wall Street Journal and others are calling for Mueller to recuse himself.  

As of publication, every other media outlet reporting the story is sourcing it back to CNN. [Update: About 24 hours after the news first broke, NBC News on Saturday confirmed the report.]

CNN itself reported Friday that typically the subjects of grand jury charges are notified immediately, but in this case neither any subjects, nor their attorneys, have been notified. 

CNN, meanwhile, did not disclose who affiliated with the Muller probe offered these updates. The network's report began with a reference to "sources briefed on the matter" but never shed any light onto who those sources are.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Sunday that leaking grand jury information is potentially criminal. 

"There are very, very strict laws on grand jury secrecy," Christie said during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union. "And so depending upon who leaked this to CNN, that's a criminal violation potentially. So, you know, I think for us to have confidence in this process, we have got to make sure that the grand jury process remains confidential, remains secret, so that the special counsel can work effectively to be able to get to the bottom of all that he's looking into."

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) echoed Christie.

"I will say this, the only conversation I’ve had with Robert Mueller, it was stressing to him, the importance of cutting out the leaks with respect to serious investigations," Gowdy said Sunday during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "So, it is kind of ironic that the people charged with investigating the law and executing the law would violate the law. And make no mistake, disclosing grand jury material is a violation of the law.

"So, as a former prosecutor," Gowdy continued, "I’m disappointed that you and I are having the conversation, but that somebody violated their oath of secrecy."

On Monday, CNN's own Jeffrey Toobin claimed it "isn't unusual to have the leak of the fact that there was a sealed indictment."


— Toobin: ‘Mueller’s Office Will Be up and Running Well into 2018, if Not’ Beyond

— Bernstein: Trump Officials Facing ‘20 to 40 to 50 Years for Whatever These Crimes Are’

— Gergen: ‘Certainly Looks Like the Dam Is About to Break’ on the Trump Admin.

Kelly O'Donnell: ‘NBC News Has Been Unable to Confirm’ CNN’s Mueller Report

MSNBC Guest: ‘It Absolutely Is’ Obstruction of Justice Trump’s Investigating Uranium One During Mueller Probe

Obama DoJ Spox: W.H. Undermining Mueller to Make an Impeachment Charge Look ‘Illegitimate’

— Christie: Leaking Mueller Indictment to CNN Is Potentially a Criminal Violation 

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