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19th of December 2018

Politics



Trump claims Mueller’s investigation has cost $40 million, but is he right?

U.S. President Donald Trump asserted on Twitter Thursday that the Mueller Russia investigation is costing “more than $40,000,000,” when the reported and estimated costs so far appear much lower.

READ MORE: Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump-Russia ties has cost nearly $7M

On Thursday, Trump tweeted “After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia.”

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018

His tweet came just two days after he said the investigation is costing $30 million on Tuesday, giving the investigation a $10 million jump in cost. In May, Trump also tweeted that the investigation cost $20 million, but had said it was $10 million just five days before that.

….terrible Gang of Angry Democrats. Look at their past, and look where they come from. The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives. Where is the Server? Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and “Justice” Department!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2018

The Mueller investigation has released its expenditures up to March 31, 2018.

In the first four and a half months, between May 17 and September 30, 2017, the investigation spent $3.2 million, while the Department of Justice (DOJ) spent $3.5 million to aid the investigation, making it $6.7 million total.

WATCH: Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign head Manafort lied to FBI

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In the following six months, between October 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, the investigation spent $4.5 million, with DOJ putting in $5.5 million, making it $10 million total.

All combined, the investigation has reported a total of $16.7 million up to March 2018.

Most of the cost in each report has been for “personnel compensation and benefits,” meaning the paying of lawyers and other staff. That has cost a reported $4.5 million so far, or 27 per cent of the total cost.

READ MORE: Paul Manafort may face new charges after reportedly lying to Russia investigators

The other costs listed include transportation, rent, communications, supplies and materials, as well as contractual services.

The investigation roughly spends $1.6 million every month if you divide the 10 and a half months that has been reported with $16.7 million.

Extrapolating for what hasn’t been covered, the total up to now would be $27.8 million, a little more than half what Trump estimates.

Since a report hasn’t been released on the spending in the last eight months, Trump could be right if spending had increased dramatically, which is possible given the investigation has ramped up in recent months.

Historically, the Whitewater investigation into President Bill Clinton cost up to $64 million over half a decade, while the investigation into the Reagan administration over the Iran-Contra Affair cost about $47 million during the same amount of time.

Those costs are not adjusted for inflation, so would be much higher in 2018 dollars.

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