Robert Mueller’s Russia Probe Cost $32 Million, Justice Department Says

The former special counsel charged 34 people and three Russian companies with crimes.

Robert Mueller makes a statement.
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The former special counsel charged 34 people and three Russian companies with crimes.

It’s official. The cost of the two-year special counsel investigation into President Donald Trump’s part in Russia’s election interference has been tallied up to a whopping $32 million.

The first 16 months of the probe cost $25.2 million in total, according to CNN.

The report, which was released Friday by the Department of Justice, shows that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office spent $6.5 million between October and May. The bulk of the costs went to salaries and expenses for the prosecutors, analysts, and agents assigned to the investigation. Around $4.12 million of that was spent through the special counsel’s office directly, and $2.44 million came from Justice Department components that supported Mueller’s office.

Mueller’s team included 19 lawyers supported by 40 FBI agents, along with intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other staff, according to Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report from March, according to USA Today.

The investigation produced criminal charges against 34 people, including members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle. It also closely analyzed Trump’s alleged efforts to obstruct the investigation.

The final costs do not include all the money the government will collect from Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who was convicted of a scheme to cover up the wealth he accrued through a lobbying operation in Ukraine.

The money collected through forfeiture will not directly pay off the special counsel’s bills, but will go into the DOJ’s Assets Forfeiture Fund, according to USA Today.

The special counsel’s fourth and final spending report took significantly longer to disclose than prior filings and arrived weeks after Justice Department officials expected it to be made public.

Trump has made the cost of the investigation a major talking point of his argument against it. He has declared that the investigation cost more than $40 million.

In the end, Mueller’s team concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, though it did determine that the campaign did favor the Kremlin’s efforts to skew the election results in Trump’s direction.

Investigators did not make a determination on whether the president’s efforts to obstruct the investigation amounted to criminal conduct.

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Trump, who once sought to dismiss Mueller, has repeatedly disparaged the special counsel’s investigation as a costly “witch hunt.”

Mueller rejected that claim last week in testimony before two House committees. The former special counsel both defended his conclusions and warned that Russia, along with other countries, were continuing their efforts to disrupt America’s political system.

The probe, which lasted from May, 2017, to March, 2019, led to more than 100 criminal charges being filed against three Russian companies and 34 individuals, according to CNN.