Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (C) announces new criminal charges against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei with Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray (R) and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at the Department of Justice January 28, 2019 in Washington, DC.


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is “close to being completed,” acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Monday.

“I hope that we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible,” Whitaker said during a Department of Justice news conference announcing indictments against Huawei officials.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment to CNBC.

While there were reports that the special counsel probe was wrapping up, Whitaker’s remark is the first indication from a Justice Department official suggesting that Mueller could deliver his report soon.

Mueller’s team of investigators is examining Russian interference in the 2016 election. The special counsel is also probing for possible collusion by Donald Trump’s campaign and whether or not the president obstructed justice.

The acting attorney general’s comment comes after Roger Stone, a longtime political advisor to President Donald Trump, was arrested in Florida on Friday. Stone faces seven counts, including allegations of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and making false statements to Congress.

Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general sparked concern that he might try to stifle Mueller’s investigation. Before joining the Justice Department, Whitaker was critical of the special counsel probe.

In a 2017 op-ed, Whitaker argued that if Mueller examined the Trump family finances “without a broadened scope in his appointment, then this would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt.”

Whitaker addressed his critics during the Monday news conference, saying he has now been “fully briefed” on the investigation and is looking forward to Mueller’s report.

“I really am not going to talk about an open and ongoing investigation otherwise, but you know, sort of the statements that I made were as a private citizen only with publicly available information,” Whitaker said.