- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 20, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller will continue investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and alleged collusion between President Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin despite the current government shutdown, Justice Department officials have confirmed.

The shutdown comes one year to the day after President Trump took office and means that much of the federal government is officially closed as of early Saturday morning. The move came as Democrats made good on their threat to withhold votes to fund the government until Republicans agree to grant a pathway to citizenship for illegal-immigrant “Dreamers.”

The shutdown impacts all “non-essential” personnel, closes national parks and monuments and keeps thousands of government workers — both in Washington and across the country — at home.

The Special Counsel’s Office — however — “is funded with a permanent indefinite appropriation, which is not dependent upon an enacted appropriation,” Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle told The Washington Times in an email.

CNN originally reported that Mr. Mueller’s probe will continue even if the federal government closes.

Appointed as a special counsel last May, Mr. Mueller’s office has spent some $7 million on its Russia investigation, which has resulted in criminal charges for four former Trump campaign and administration officials. The White House, while pledging to cooperate with Mr. Mueller, has repeatedly denounced allegations of Russian collusion as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax”.

Congress plans to meet on Saturday to end the funding crisis.

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