Mueller probe's expenses totaled $3M in early months

Mueller probe's expenses totaled $3.2M in early months

Mueller details $6.7 million spent in early months of Russia probe

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has spent about $3.2 million so far as part of its ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the Justice Department revealed Tuesday in a report. That spending "approximates expenditures the components would have incurred for the investigations irrespective of the existence of the SCO", the report said.

According to Mueller's report, the special counsel's office spent about $1.7 million for salaries and benefits and more than $223,000 for travel-related expenses.

The price tag is likely to rile Republicans who have been critical of Mueller's team and wary of a lengthy and costly investigation, though independent counsels have in the past spent tens of millions of dollars on lengthy probes.

Another $733,969 was spent on equipment, but the report does not provide details. This comes as revelations have surfaced that former FBI Director Comey had drafted an "exoneration" memo of Clinton months before she and her top aides were interviewed and the investigation had concluded.

The report covered the period from May 17, the date of Mueller's appointment, through September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

That money has helped fund 17 attorneys working on the probe, as well as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, support staff, travel, rent, acquisitions of equipment and other expenses. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia's ambassador during the transition period, and, in a potentially ominous sign for the White House, agreed to cooperate with Mueller.

Mueller incorporated several active investigations within the Justice Department, including those of Trump campaign contacts with Russian Federation, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's business activities and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump has in the past taken aim at Mueller's hires, highlighting some team members' political contributions to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. CNN reported that investigators are scrutinizing Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russian Federation.

White House lawyers declined to comment on Mueller's expenditures.

The Department of Justice revealed on Tuesday that almost $7 million has been spent so far on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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