From the Daily Beast:
Behind the scenes, Federal Judge Beryl Howell is in a position to make pivotal decisions. And her importance could only grow. Federal court rules indicate that she signed off on Mueller’s request to assemble a grand jury, a highly secretive gathering of about two dozen people in Washington’s E. Barrett Prettyman courthouse that will grill witnesses and demand Trump associates’ documents.
“Even though she worked for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, she’s been very straight-arrow as a judge and she wouldn’t be impaneling a jury for the heck of it, or anything less than there being ample justification for it,” said a former federal lobbyist, referring to Howell’s previous work for Sen. Patrick Leahy. “She’s like Mueller: He wouldn’t ask for it unless he had more than enough evidence to justify it, and she wouldn’t have granted it unless he did.”
In the coming months, Howell’s role could become far more active. The grand jury could put together a report that would kick off impeachment proceedings, according to conservative former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. The manual for U.S. attorneys says that before the grand jury could issue a report making any of its findings public (or available to Congress), a judge—meaning Howell—would have to approve it.
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