Another day, another American taxpayer dollar going towards funding the Russia investigation.
The investigation, which President Trump continues to call a “hoax,” began in 2017 and has cost taxpayers $17 million according to a tweet from the president.
“A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast. No Collusion, except by the Democrats!” Trump tweeted.
A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast. No Collusion, except by the Democrats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2018
As Washington Examiner reports, the Department of Justice released a report on Thursday estimating the investigation has exceeded $16 million but has not yet crested $17 million.
USA Today has more:
In the second financial report since his appointment just more than a year ago, Mueller listed direct expenditures of more than $4.5 million, including $2.7 million in salaries and benefits for his staff of prosecutors.
Another $5.4 million was reported as indirect costs for the work of Justice officials who have assisted the investigation but are not under Mueller’s direct control.
The new accounting covered a period from Oct. 1, 2017, through March 31. A previous report from May through September 2017 listed direct and indirect costs of $6.7, bringing the total from the two reports to $16.6 million.
While the investigation has produced guilty pleas and indictments, it has yet to provide evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. Moreover, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has not yet announced when he would be ending the investigation. With no end in sight, taxpayers are forced to continue footing the bill.
Here’s more, from Bloomberg:
The majority of funds spent by Mueller in the latest period — about $2.7 million — went for personnel, with the rest going to travel, office space and contracting services, the Justice Department said.
The Justice Department has budgeted $10 million for Mueller to spend in fiscal 2019, which begins on Oct. 1. Trump has seized on that figure in tweets attacking the investigation.
“Can you believe that with all of the made up, unsourced stories I get from the Fake News Media, together with the $10,000,000 Russian Witch Hunt (there is no Collusion), I now have my best Poll Numbers in a year. Much of the Media may be corrupt, but the People truly get it!” Trump said in a May 15 tweet.
“At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP!” Trump tweeted on May 20.
“They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more,” the president added in another tweet. “Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam.”
Of those individuals charged by Mueller and his investigative team, several were members of Trump’s administration or his campaign team, including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn.
Here’s more on the charges, from USA Today:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Manafort was originally charged along with campaign deputy Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. As part of his plea, Gates has promised to cooperate with the ongoing inquiry.
Gates was the fifth person to plead guilty to a federal crime in Mueller’s wide-ranging probe.
Chief among those was former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, who in December pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his pre-inaugural contacts with Russia ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn, one of Trump’s most vocal campaign surrogates, also agreed to cooperate withe Mueller’s investigators.