(CNN) – Thursday marks one year since special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Mueller took over an investigation that was first opened by since-fired FBI Director James Comey in July 2016, during the campaign.
The far-reaching investigation continues — witnesses are still being interviewed, and trials are scheduled for later this year. As the proceedings have dragged on, the White House has adopted an increasingly hostile tone toward the investigation, which President Donald Trump has repeatedly called a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”
In one year, Mueller has brought charges against 19 people and three companies, including a former White House adviser, three former Trump campaign aides — including the campaign chairman at the time — a prominent Russian oligarch and a dozen Kremlin-backed trolls. In all, these defendants are facing a combined 75 criminal charges, ranging from alleged conspiracy against the United States, bank fraud and tax violations to lying to FBI investigators and identity fraud.
Five defendants have pleaded guilty — most prominently, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who are both cooperating with Mueller. Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who pleaded guilty to lying to the special counsel, is currently serving a 30-day prison sentence. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is fighting Mueller’s charges in court.
At least 40 people have voluntarily given interviews to Mueller’s investigators, according to CNN’s latest reporting and other news accounts. At least seven people are known to have testified at a grand jury, though the number is likely much higher because the proceedings are secret.
Before Mueller took over the investigation, at least two former Trump campaign staffers were placed under government surveillance. The FBI and Justice Department got approval from federal judges to wiretap and monitor the communications of Manafort and Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the campaign.
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