DOJ’s Whitaker says Russia probe ‘close’ to being completed

WASHINGTON (AP) – The special counsel’s Russia probe is “close to being completed”, the acting attorney general said in the first official sign that the investigation may be wrapping up.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s comments on Monday were a departure for the Justice Department, which rarely comments on the state of the investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

“The investigation is, I think, close to being completed,” Whitaker said on Monday at the end of an unrelated news conference in Washington. He said he had been “fully briefed” on the probe.

Whitaker did not elaborate or give any timetable for the end of a nearly two-year investigation that has shadowed Trump’s presidency.

So far, special counsel Robert Mueller has charged 34 people, including several close to the President. But he has yet to accuse anyone close to the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Kremlin to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the election.

Whitaker, who is seen as a Trump ally, took over the Justice Department — and oversight of the Mueller probe — after Jeff Sessions resigned as attorney general in November at Trump’s request.

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. – AP