Mueller investigation cost $32 million, Justice Department says

Aug 2, 2019, 3:07 PM
Mueller investigation...
Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

(CNN) — The Mueller investigation cost a total of almost $32 million through the course of the probe, according to newly released figures from the Justice Department.

That accounting tallied both the amount former special counsel Robert Mueller borrowed from other Justice Department components that weren’t under his direct control, as well as his office’s direct expenses.

In all, Mueller directly spent about $16 million on his office over two years.

The total amount of the office of special counsel’s expenditures for its final six months, from October through May, was $6.5 million, according to the accounting statement released Friday.

That figure breaks down into two parts — Mueller’s direct expenses and his indirect expenses. In his last six months before the office closed in late May, the special counsel’s office directly spent $4.1 million, mostly on its personnel, according to the statement Friday.

In his last six months, Mueller had begun to involve other US attorney’s offices in cases he had investigated, and several of his prosecutors had left the office before its official closure. At the same time, the remaining attorneys were working on finalizing the Mueller report.

Mueller found several examples of Russian efforts to sway the election for the Trump campaign, but did not find evidence that the Trump campaign knowingly took part in the allegedly criminal conspiracy, according to his 448-page report released in April.

His office also thoroughly investigated 10 possible situations where President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation, according to the report. He declined to decide whether Trump should be prosecuted, and instead outlined findings and his legal analysis regarding possible obstruction. Mueller left the Justice Department leadership to make the call not to charge the President.

In court, the office charged former Trump adviser Roger Stone with seven counts of lying, obstruction and witness tampering in January, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced by two federal judges in March.

Mueller’s team also used an additional $2.4 million worth of Justice Department expenses in its last six months, which the department would have spent on investigations regardless of whether Mueller’s office existed.

In all, Mueller charged 34 people and three Russian companies with crimes. That included top Trump advisers: Manafort, Stone, Rick Gates and Michael Flynn, as well as two dozen Russians and the Russian companies.

Five of those people have been sentenced to prison and other punishments. During Mueller’s wind-down, other US attorney’s offices picked up Mueller’s pending cases or received still-secret cases Mueller referred to them that didn’t fall under his investigative mandate to look into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Millions recouped

In some ways, the federal government is recouping some expenses in an indirect way through its prosecutions. But the numbers tally as a fraction of the millions in costs and reimbursements that politicians have claimed Mueller brought in.

Manafort, for instance, will forfeit $11 million to the government. He also must pay $6 million restitution to the IRS, according to his sentences.

Much of the rest of what Manafort is turning over as part of his sentence — including proceeds from the sale of his real estate — will go back to banks to which he owed money, according to his forfeiture court proceedings, which are still ongoing.

Separately, Manafort was fined $50,000 as part of his financial fraud sentence. Michael Cohen, the President’s personal attorney, was fined $50,000 as part of his sentence for lying to Congress during the Mueller investigation. Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based European lawyer who worked with Manafort, was fined $20,000 for lying to the FBI as it worked on the Mueller investigation. And former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was fined $9,500 for lying to FBI agents investigating the campaign and its connections to Russia.

The almost $130,000 in total fines will go to the federal fund for crime victims, according to Justice Department policy.

This story has been updated.

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Mueller investigation cost $32 million, Justice Department says