Comparatively Speaking, Just How Expensive Has Mueller’s Investigation Really Been?

The special counsel has racked up a bill of $25 million so far, but Trump's visits to his properties far exceed those costs.

Special counsel Robert Mueller.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

The special counsel has racked up a bill of $25 million so far, but Trump's visits to his properties far exceed those costs.

Since Robert Mueller assumed the role of special counsel of the Russia investigation, he has spent upwards of $25 million to conduct his inquiry.

The numbers are as of September 30 of this year, and are likely higher as of this date. Over the last six months of the most recent expenditure report, around $8.5 million was spent by the special counsel for the purposes of the investigation, ABC News reported on Friday

The cost of the investigation has been a sticking point for President Donald Trump, especially since the investigation has been inching closer to individuals who are part of his inner circle. Trump previously accused Mueller of spending a higher amount than was reported on Friday, however, suggesting Mueller spent as much as $30 million, before later inflating that number to $40 million, according to reporting from Politico.

The investigation, Trump stated in those same tweets, “shattered so many innocent lives.” Yet despite those assertions, the inquiry led by Mueller has led to many guilty pleas and indictments, including from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Although the costs seem high, it wasn’t clear whether they took into account forfeitures made by Manafort as part of a plea deal he made earlier this year. Those forfeitures actually totaled more than $40 million, and may offset the costs of the investigation, according to reporting from CNBC.

Those forfeitures will remain in the hands of federal investigators, even as a plea deal with Manafort fell apart after the inquiry discovered he had been lying to them and discussing their conversations with the White House, reports NBC News.

Other criticisms from Trump may seem improper, especially given how much his own activities have cost American taxpayers in comparison to the investigation. According to figures compiled by Cheat Sheet, in just a little over the first year Trump was president, he made 13 visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Those trips cost $27 million on their own — and that’s not even counting security costs, which totaled $13 million for those trips.

Trump has, of course, visited the resort and other Trump properties since that time, and he plans another Christmas visit in the next week, which will, once again, incur high costs.

Most of the costs of Mueller’s investigation seem to be salary-related. For the reporting period of the last six months (from April to September of this year), around three-fifths of the spending by the special counsel’s office was to pay investigators and other staffers for their work, according to the Justice Department document itself.