The bill for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election has totaled about $16.7 million over the course of its first year, according to a count by the Justice Department.
From October 2017 through March 2018, the probe rang up nearly $10 million in expenses, according to a tally released by the Department of Justice on Thursday. That’s in addition to the $6.7 million spent in the first five months, starting in May 2017, when Mueller was appointed to investigate whether President Donald Trump or any of his aides colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
The latest spending receipts show the special counsel’s office directly spent $4.5 million from October to March. The bulk of that money — $2.7 million — was allocated to personnel compensation and benefits. Another half a million was used for travel fees.
But the lion’s share of the $10 million racked up in the latest expense report was attributed to the Department of Justice’s $5.5 million component expenses. The department noted that it was not required to track or report this spending, and said it would have incurred these costs anyway “irrespective of” the special counsel’s investigation.
President Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Mueller’s probe, branding it a “witch hunt” that has not yielded any evidence of collusion between his campaign team and Russia. So far, the investigation has leveled charges against four Trump associates. Three have pled guilty to lying to the authorities.
Even before the latest spending tally was released, Trump took aim at how much the investigation was costing the government, although as the Washington Post notes, the expenditures are not necessarily disproportionate compared with previous investigations.
While White House officials have repeatedly called on the probe to wrap up soon, the Justice Department has reportedly budgeted $10 million for Mueller’s team to spend in the next fiscal year, which begins in October.