Judge Andrew Napolitano said Monday that if Roger Stone commences a powerful legal defense to his indictment by the Mueller team, it could extend the special counsel investigation past the 2020 elections.

On "Your World," Neil Cavuto asked Napolitano how long the legal proceedings will take if Stone goes to trial to defend himself against charges of perjury and the like -- rather than copping a plea deal.

"It would go to trial a year from now... When the country will be caught up in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary," Napolitano said, noting that such a date would mark the third year of the probe itself.

Napolitano said it's unlikely that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would submit a report to Congress before such proceedings are complete, meaning the document wouldn't be released for a long time in that case.

"I doubt we’re going to get a report from Mueller until the people he’s indicted [go to court]," he said. "A lot of information comes out in [defendants'] cross-examination, which you don't always anticipate."

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Napolitano said that if Stone, an ex-Trump adviser who also worked on Richard Nixon's presidential campaign, "plays hardball," it would drag out the probe and its prosecutions.

"[Stone] seems determined to do that," he said of 66-year-old Connecticut native mounting a defense.

Earlier Monday, Stone himself appeared on "Liberty File" with Napolitano on Fox Nation. Check out that interview HERE.

As Fox News also reported, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said later Monday that the probe may is "close" to wrapping up:

In his first question-and-answer session with reporters since becoming Acting Attorney General last November, Matthew Whitaker on Monday announced that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is “close to being completed."

Whitaker's remarks came just days after Mueller ordered the dramatic predawn arrest of former Trump adviser Roger Stone on charges he allegedly lied to Congress and directed another witness to do the same.

"I’ve been fully briefed, and I look forward to Mueller delivering the final report," Whitaker said. “Right now, the investigation is close to being completed.”

In response, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., tweeted that Whitaker's remark was inappropriate.

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