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Robert Mueller gets a key extension from a federal judge

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His grand jury was set to expire

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Special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury, which approves indictments related to his Russia investigation, was extended by a federal judge Friday just before it was set to expire, according to Politico.

Chief Judge Beryl Howell was the judge who approved the extension, although no details were provided about the reason for the extension. The grand jury, which runs in 18-month terms, was created on July 5, 2017.

What exactly is this grand jury doing? Several of Mueller's indictments came from this particular grand jury, including those against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, as well as numerous Russian individuals and companies accused of attempting to meddle in the 2016 election.

What does the extension mean? It could mean there are more indictments to come, which Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi both hinted at by saying they could be indicted by Mueller.

Will this ever end? A late December report indicated that Mueller might be ready to conclude the investigation by mid-February, with a lawyer who had been in contact with Mueller's team saying "They clearly are tying up loose ends."

NBC News cited legal experts who said that the sentencing of cooperators like Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Manafort indicates that the investigation is nearing its conclusion, since Mueller would no longer have any leverage over those men once they are sentenced.

Still, there is a belief that Mueller wants to interview President Donald Trump in person for the investigation, and could consider issuing a subpoena to Trump that would delay and extend the investigation.

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