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Washington - Mueller Details Millions In Cost Of Early Months Of Probe

Published on: December 5, 2017 04:11 PM
By: AP
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. BernsteinSpecial Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Washington - Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office says more than $6.7 million has been spent as part of his investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with associates of President Donald Trump.

Of that price tag, only about $3.2 million was spent directly by the special counsel’s office. An additional $3.5 million was paid out by the Justice Department to support the investigation, though the special counsel’s office says that money would have been spent on ongoing probes anyway, even if Mueller had not been appointed.

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Mueller incorporated several active investigations within the Justice Department including those of Trump campaign contacts with Russia, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s business activities and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The details of the expenditures related to Mueller’s investigation were laid out in¬†a report ¬†released publicly by the special counsel’s office. The report covers from May 17, the date of Mueller’s appointment, through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

According to Mueller’s report, the special counsel’s office spent about $1.7 million for salaries and benefits and more than $223,000 for travel-related expenses. The majority of the travel costs stemmed from the relocation of Justice Department employees temporarily assigned to the expanding investigation.

The office also spent nearly $734,000 on equipment and about $363,000 on rent, communications and utilities.

Previous special counsel investigations, including probes of President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, have also spent millions over a few months’ time.

A 1999 General Accounting Office report, for example, showed that independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s office spent $6.2 million in the last six months of 1998, though it’s unclear if that amount included both direct expenditures by the special counsel and supporting agency costs. In the report released Tuesday, Mueller’s office noted that previous special counsels only reported direct costs and not those incurred separately by the Justice Department on their own expenditure reports.

The four-and-a-half year investigations headed by Starr and his successor, Robert Ray, cost more than $52 million in taxpayer funds as they probed Clinton and then-first lady Hillary Clinton.

A 2000 General Accounting Office report that detailed those figures said that $36 million came from congressional appropriations and $16 million from other federal agency costs. Starr’s predecessor, Robert Fiske, spent an additional $6 million investigating the Clintons’ involvement in the Whitewater real estate deal, according to a May 1999 GAO report.

Starr’s investigation turned over documentation to the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee, which impeached Bill Clinton in December 1998 on single charges of perjury and obstruction of justice related to his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. A Senate vote in February 1999 failed to convict Clinton on those charges.

So far, Mueller’s team has charged four people as part of the ongoing investigation.

Last week, Flynn pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigators. George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, made a similar plea deal with Mueller’s prosecutors in October. Both men admitted to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russians related to their work for Trump.

In addition, Manafort and his longtime business associate, Rick Gates, are currently facing several felony charges brought by the special counsel’s office. Those charges involve allegations of money laundering and other financial crimes related to their political consulting work in Ukraine.

In its report, Mueller’s team notes that it draws its funding from a revolving “permanent, indefinite” appropriation for independent counsels provided by Congress, as well as from non-reimbursed Justice Department agency expenditures and from intelligence agency appropriations.

In a statement, the special counsel’s office said it will release a similar expenditure report after March 31, 2018.



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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 05, 2017 at 06:16 PM Yisroel Says:

This is a small price to pay to defend democracy.

2

 Dec 05, 2017 at 07:09 PM Hoshomer Says:

Waste of taxpayer money.

3

 Dec 05, 2017 at 07:14 PM Yisroel Says:

A low price to preserve democracy.

4

 Dec 05, 2017 at 09:56 PM Hoshomer Says:

Muller needs to investigate his own staff. A lot of shady business going on among his staff members.

5

 Dec 06, 2017 at 05:37 AM qazxc Says:

What a waste of money. Trump could have gone to play golf six more weekends for the same price.

6

 Dec 06, 2017 at 09:29 AM peretz2 Says:

Versus $7 Million on Benghazi wet dream

7

 Dec 06, 2017 at 11:29 AM Anonymous Says:

Enough money thrown away. Time to wrap it up and throw half of Mullers people out of this. Its a disgrace to the country.

8

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