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Robert Mueller details $6.7M spent in early months of Russia probe

08 December 2017, 12:58 | Darnell Patrick

Robert Mueller details $6.7M spent in early months of Russia probe

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Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation to influence the 2016 election cost the government about $6.7 million in Mueller's first four and a half months in office, according to a report released by the Justice Department on Tuesday.

Rosenstein's hearing comes as Republicans express concerns over possible bias in Mueller's investigation.

Another $3.5 million has separately been spent by law enforcement personnel working on the investigation but who do not directly report to Mueller, DOJ said. The report said that past special counsels did not report such expenditures, and the expenses would have been incurred "irrespective of the existence" of the special counsel's office. The special counsel has hired a small army of attorneys - 17 - to work the investigation. Some of the costs in the budget are for expenses the Justice Department would have already spent on other teams, such as for employees on detail to Mueller from other DOJ divisions.

Previous special counsel investigations, including probes of President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, have also spent millions over a few months' time. The Department of Justice spent another $3.5 million to support the investigation.

On December 1, Mueller reached a plea agreement with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to giving misleading the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with then Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

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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.

As part of the deal, Flynn's son Michael Flynn Jr.is not expected to be charged and Flynn is prepared to testify that high-level officials on Trump's transition team directed him to make contact with the Russians in December 2016.

Mueller filed charges against Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates on October 30.

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. Reports last week said the special counsel had removed a veteran Federal Bureau of Investigation agent from his team for sending anti-Trump text messages.



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