Mueller's grand jury may end up furloughed or without pay if shutdown continues past mid-January
Special counsel Robert Mueller on CNN (screen capture)

The federal court that contains special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury can only afford to pay its workers through January 18 -- and if the government shutdown continues after, it may have to furlough jurors or have them go without pay.

Washington Post legal reporter Spencer Hsu tweeted Thursday that the District of Columbia's US District Court said that "trials will continue as scheduled, and jurors and grand jurors will be asked to report as scheduled" -- but "juror payments may be deferred until funding is restored."

Last Friday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted that a federal judiciary spokesperson last week warned that if the shutdown continues past 21 days -- the longest government shutdown in history, which the US will surpass if it continues past Saturday -- the government may not have enough money to keep courts operational.

News of the judiciary's statement came after reports that Mueller was granted another six months on his investigation's grand jury term -- and a comment by Trump, who said he would keep the government shut down for months or years if necessary to fund his border wall.

“At this point, I think everybody in the country is having sort of the same feeling,” Maddow said, “that the president fantasizing out loud today about a federal government shutdown that goes on for years, maybe that had a little something to do with his personal fantasy that that would end the federal law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations into him and his business and his campaign.”