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Special counsel details $6.7M spent in early months of Russia probe

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published December 5, 2017 at 10:45 a.m. Updated December 5, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.

special-counsel-robert-mueller-is-shown-in-this-2013-file-photo

Special counsel Robert Mueller is shown in this 2013 file photo.



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.

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.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: Special counsel details $6.7M spent in early months of Russia probe

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 total comments

gohogs17 says... December 5, 2017 at 2:24 p.m.

What a WASTE of money!

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hurricane46 says... December 5, 2017 at 2:46 p.m.

That's not a waste of money, that would be the taxpayers footing the bill for Herr Drumphs golf outings.

( | suggest removal )

gohogs17 says... December 5, 2017 at 4:06 p.m.

Mueller and his FBI buddy (Strzok) are corrupt, biased liars who need to be investigated.

( | suggest removal )

3WorldState1 says... December 5, 2017 at 4:38 p.m.

The GOP doesn't give a rats a^%^%$ about the debt or the deficit. They prove that over and over.
Drumph is about to have a trillion dollar deficit with full employment. What a loser.

( | suggest removal )

ARMNAR says... December 5, 2017 at 4:39 p.m.

hurricane beat me to it.

Not that facts and logic mean diddlysquat to Trumpanzees...

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gohogs17 says... December 5, 2017 at 7:28 p.m.

The FBI is quickly becoming the KGB.

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gohogs17 says... December 6, 2017 at 8:43 p.m.

Mueller is totally corrupt and purely unethical. He was supposed to investigate alleged "collusion" by Russia in the election process. He's found none and now is going after anything he can "find". He's outside his parameters and Sessions should fire him and end this charade.

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23cal says... December 6, 2017 at 9:19 p.m.

Gohogs, your reading comprehension handicaps are showing again. Nowhere in his charge is the word "collusion" mentioned and if you read it all it includes "other matters that “may arise directly from the investigation.”
*
I know you make stuff up as you go along to suit you, but.....dang.

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gohogs17 says... December 7, 2017 at 9:33 a.m.

23, you idiot, all you libs have talked about is Russian "collusion"! That was what this clown was supposed to "investigate". Since there is, nor was, none he decided to go on a "fishing" expedition. I guess we'd call it "opposition research", a term you libs love to exploit to the Nth degree, hoping to find out if his dog peed on a fire hydrant decades ago, if nothing else. You obviously didn't grasp my previous post in context. I should have made it even simpler so simple minds as yours might possibly comprehend. Possibly!

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gohogs17 says... December 7, 2017 at 8:31 p.m.

Mueller and his "team" are totally corrupt and the FBI is dangerous to the country.

( | suggest removal )

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