Robert Mueller given more time to investigate Trump's possible collusion with Russia

Extension granted for six more months

Andrew Buncombe
Friday 04 January 2019 18:34
Melania Trump's face after shaking hands with Putin

Robert Mueller has been given additional time to carry out his investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

In a development that may surprise those who have suggested the special counsel’s work was drawing to a close, a judge in Washington DC granted a six-month extension to the grand jury being used to examine evidence.

The jury had been impanelled in July 2017 for a standard 18-month term and was set to expire this week. The extension granted by federal judge Beryl Howell means the investigation will continue for some time yet.

The Associated Press said federal criminal procedure rules allow such extensions when a judge determines it is in the public interest. The extension can only last up to six months.

Mr Mueller, a former director of the FBI launched his investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the election and possible collision with the Trump campaign in the sprain of 2017. He was appointed after Mr Trump fired his then FBI Director James Comey.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The president has repeatedly denied there was any collusion between his campaign and Moscow and dismissed the probe as a “witch hunt”.

Since his appointment, Mr Mueller has indicted more than two dozen Russians for allegedly meddling in the election using hacking and social media, to help Mr Trump and hurt his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The special counsel has also secured guilty pleas from several Trump associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Those who are cooperating in the investigation are likely to testify before the grand jury, though the proceedings are secret, The Hill reported.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to reported in early August 2017 that Mr Mueller had impanelled a grand jury in DC as he investigated Russia’s alleged role.

Multiple individuals are known to have testified before the grand jury as part of his sprawling inquiry.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments