Aug. 3 (UPI) — The two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election cost nearly $32 million, a final expenditure report released Friday indicates.
The Justice Department report shows the special counsel team spent $6.56 million from Oct. 1 to May 31, when the probe concluded. The first 16 months of the probe, which began in spring 2017, cost more than $25 million.
Mueller submitted his final report to Attorney General William Barr in March. He confirmed Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 election but said there was no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with those efforts.
Mueller told Congress last month his report didn’t exonerate President Donald Trump, though, as it detailed a number of instances in which he possibly obstructed the investigation. His team declined to make a determination as to whether Trump broke the law, he said, because a sitting president can’t be indicted.
Mueller critics, including Trump, have targeted him for how long the investigation took and how much it cost. In November, the president said the probe had cost $40 million, though final figures released Friday indicated a lower amount.
“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!” Trump tweeted in November.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, said during a hearing last week that forfeitures by people convicted in Mueller’s probe amounted to more than the entire cost of the investigation.
“You secured the convictions of President Trump’s campaign chairman [Paul Manafort], his deputy campaign chairman [George Papadapoulous], his national security adviser [Michael Flynn], and his personal lawyer [Michael Cohen], among others,” Nadler said. “In the Paul Manafort case alone, you recovered as much as $42 million, so that the cost of your investigation to the taxpayers approaches zero.”
Politifact reported the forfeitures go to the Department of Justice’s Assets Forfeiture Fund, not directly to the Mueller probe.