US Court overseeing the Russia investigation will be hit hard if the government shutdown continues — but Trump can't stop it

US Court overseeing the Russia investigation will be hit hard if the government shutdown continues — but Trump can't stop it
Council on Foreign Relations YouTube screenshot/Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., which oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, announced Thursday that unless the government shutdown is reversed, it will run out of funds after Jan. 18.

"Should the government shutdown continue beyond January 18, 2019, this Court will likely need to furlough some employees and require others to work without pay," the court said in a statement. "However, the Court will continue to be open for business. Trial will continue as scheduled, and jurors and grand jurors will be asked to report as scheduled. Juror payments may be deferred until funding is restored."

In other words, the shutdown will impose serious burdens on the court and strain its resources. But it will not deter the justice system from carrying out its operations.

Mueller's investigation itself is operating on funding that has already been allocated, so his team is not directly vulnerable to the shutdown at all.

Some have speculated that Trump's desire to distract from, and perhaps even impede, the investigations into him and his allies. However, it seems more plausible that the connection between the shutdown and the probes is more directly political, rather than operational — the president thinks he needs to focus on the border wall fight to maintain the support that protects him from legal and congressional checks. If Trump does think the shutdown can stymie the investigations he fears, he is sorely mistaken.

"The Court is sensitive to the hardship already felt by the courthouse community, as some members are already working without pay, and is proud of the commitment and professionalism of Court staff," the court concluded.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.