Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Friday extended a grand jury for six months as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The federal grand jury, which was empaneled in July 2017, was set to expire Saturday.
Federal grand juries cannot serve longer than 18 months unless authorized by a judge "upon determination that such extension is in the public interest," court rules indicate.
Howell did not say for how much longer the grand jury would be seated.
Since it began in the spring of 2017, Mueller's probe has cost taxpayers more than $25 million, the Department of Justice said Dec. 15. His team has indicted 36 people, including George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Michael Flynn, all of whom have pleaded guilty.
President Donald Trump, who has come under investigation for allegedly colluding with the Russian government, has called the probe a "witch hunt" on multiple occasions.