- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe has cost taxpayers nearly $25 million, according to a Justice Department report Friday.

Nearly $4.6 million of that was shelled out in the six months between April 1 and Oct. 31. That’s a slight uptick from the $4.5 million the Mueller probe cost between Oct. 1, 2017, and March 31.

President Trump, who has dismissed the Mueller probe as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt,” has blasted its cost. In June, he wrote on Twitter “the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million and going up fast.”

The figures were part of the Justice Department’s six-month expense tally that details the special counsel’s spending. Another six-month total from Nov. 1, 2018, through March 31, 2019 will be released next year.

Mueller’s team has spent nearly $12 million on items such as staff salaries and travel.

The latest report shows that expenses remained roughly the same in the past six months.

During the past six months, about $2.9 million was spent on salaries and benefits for Mueller and his team, compared to $2.7 million during the prior six-month period. Travel costs ran about $580,000, up 9 percent from $532,000, according to the previous report.

Mr. Mueller’s team has indicted 33 people and three companies, including five former Trump advisers and 26 Russian nationals. Among the eight individuals who are not among the indicted Russian nationals, six have pleaded guilty.

Another, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was convicted for financial crimes he committed before he linked up with the future president. He later pleaded guilty in two separate charges in Washington, D.C.

Perhaps Mr. Mueller’s biggest catch was getting longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen to plead guilty to lying to Congress. Cohen is now cooperating with the Mueller probe and has said he committed a campaign finance violation at the direction of President Trump. The president has denied the allegation.

However, none of the charges has provided any evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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