Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating the Russians’ involvement in the 2016 presidential elections, as well as their dealings with President Donald Trump and his associates during his campaign, for over 18 months now. That year and a half has come with a hefty price tag, it would appear.
On Friday, when Mueller revealed documents pertaining to the interview between former national security advisor Michael Flynn and agents with the FBI, it was also revealed that between April and September this year, the continued investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia has cost a total of nearly $8.5 million, USA Today reported.
Adding the full cost of the investigation from last year, which was reported to be almost $17 million, the total cost of the investigation as has been shared stands at $25.5 million, and counting. The amount from April to September includes nearly $2.9 million in compensation and benefits. Rent, utilities, and communications totaled $942,787, travel and transportation for others cost $580,098, and contractual services cost $310,732.
Although this is an exorbitant figure, Trump reportedly over-exaggerated that figure in a recent tweet, claiming that it was over $40 million that had been “wasted.” He has also repeatedly attacked the investigation, calling it an illegal witch hunt on numerous occasions over his social media account.
“When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever? After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!”
— ABC News (@ABC) December 14, 2018
Many on Twitter have been pointing out that despite the cost of the investigation, Mueller’s team has seized assets worth over $30 million so far from those who have been arrested and indicted, arguing that technically speaking, he has made a profit.
Mueller was first appointed to investigate Trump in May 2017, after the president fired former FBI director James Comey for allegedly looking into the president’s dealings with Russia. Mueller’s investigation has been given no specific deadline which he must meet, but speculation is that he is getting very near to reaching a conclusion.
So far, his investigation has already resulted in charges being brought against more than 30 people, and three companies as well. This week saw the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, be sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement. Meanwhile, Michael Flynn is set to be sentenced on Tuesday after documents pertaining to his interview — albeit heavily redacted — were released on Friday.