- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2019

A federal judge on Friday extended special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury for up to six months, the U.S. District Court in D.C. announced.

Mr. Mueller is using the 23-person federal grand jury to conduct his investigation into Russian interference and other matters, leading to the indictment of some of President Trump’s campaign officials.

The original 18-month authorization for the grand jury, which began in July 2017, was set to expire Sunday. Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the District Court in D.C. granted the extension.

Judge Howell does not sit in on the grand jury’s sessions.

Under federal rules, a grand jury cannot serve longer than 18 months unless the chief judge extends its service for another six months or less, if it is “in the public interest.”

The grand jury’s work is secret. They have been reviewing evidence and hearing testimony from witnesses. Their work has resulted in multiple criminal cases against people connected to Mr. Trump, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn was also indicted by the grand jury.

All three have pleaded guilty.

The grand jury has also indicted 25 Russians and three companies for meddling in the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump has railed against the Mueller probe, dismissing it as a “witch hunt” and “hoax.” He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and so far, the special counsel has not indicted anyone connected to Mr. Trump with crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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