Mueller investigation cost now more than $25 million: DOJ report

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Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-14 17:20:20-05

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election reported spending more than $25 million through Sep. 30, according to the latest Justice Department filing, including $8.5 million over the last six-month reporting period.

Last month, President Donald Trump, without citing any documentation, accused Mueller of "wasting more than $40,000,000" on an "illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt" that has "shattered so many innocent lives."

On Sunday, the president again complained about the cost of the Mueller probe, and also without documentation, claimed the investigation has cost more than $30 million, instead of $40 million.

The new numbers reported by the Department of Justice on Friday cover expenditures from April 2018 through September 2018, including compensation for prosecutors, rent, travel and transportation.

Mueller's team spent $4.6 million from the special counsel's budget, and the Justice Department chipped in an additional $3.9 million for the investigation during the last six month period, bringing the total to $25 million. This is a 15 percent decrease from the previous six-month reporting period between October 2017 and March 2018, when the special counsel and the Justice Department reported spending $10 million in support of the investigation.

The biggest portion of the expenditures went to personnel compensation, $2.9 million, while Mueller's team spent nearly $1 million on rent, communications and utilities and more than $580,000 on travel and transportation.

As ABC News has previously reported, investigations of this nature can take years to resolve and can run into the tens of millions of dollars. And as a part of the investigation, Mueller's team is expected to bring in money for the U.S. government through fines and sales of forfeited properties from individuals who have pleaded guilty to the special counsel.

This includes $22.3 million in forfeited real estate properties from Paul Manafort's plea deal with the government. The one-time Trump campaign chairman, who in August pleaded guilty to evading taxes on more than $60 million of income earned working for Ukrainian politicians, also faces up to $500,000 in fines.

Others who have pleaded guilty to the Mueller investigation, including Michael Cohen and George Papadopoulos, have been sentenced to a total of $79,500 in fines to the special counsel's office.

Since his appointment as special counsel in May 2017, Mueller has indicted 33 individuals and three Russian businesses on charges ranging from computer hacking to conspiracy and financial crimes. Those indictments have led to seven guilty pleas and four people sentenced to prison.