Justice Dept. has spent $25.2 million on Russia probe through September

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has spent a total of $25.2 million on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia from its start in May 2017 through September 2018, according to the latest public data released on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein -/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo

That number is a little more than half the amount Trump has claimed Mueller spent. In a tweet on Nov. 29, Trump claimed without evidence that Mueller’s investigation, which the president has dubbed a “witch hunt,” had led to the wasting of more than $40 million.

“After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven one thing-there was NO collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!” Trump wrote.

The report released on Friday showed that Mueller’s office and other Justice Department offices assisting with the probe had spent $8.5 million combined from April 2018 through September 2018.

A total of about $4.6 million came from Mueller’s office and the other $3.9 million came from other Justice Department offices providing assistance, through the report says that money would have still been expended “irrespective of the existence” of the special counsel.

Altogether since May 2017 through September 2018, Mueller’s office has spent $12.3 million, while other Justice Department offices assisting the probe have spent $12.9 million.

Mueller was appointed as special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017, after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.

Mueller’s investigation, which could threaten Trump’s presidency, has already ensnared 32 individuals and three Russian companies.

Earlier this week, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in making illegal hush-money payments to two women to help Trump’s 2016 election campaign and lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia.

Next Tuesday, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn is due to be sentenced in a federal court in Washington for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.

Mueller is expected to issue a report on his findings possibly some time next year.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Richard Chang and Jonathan Oatis

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