President Trump draws red line for Mueller on Russia probe, warns he'll expose 'conflicts'

The Justice Department issued the first financial report for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Russia” probe Tuesday, indicating the costs ran well into the millions months ago.

The DOJ report, which includes the investigation from its inauguration on May 17 to the end of September, shows a total expense to that point of $3,213,695.

But buried in the report is the fact that the Department of Justice spent an additional $3,546,000 outside the Special Counsel’s budget to support Mueller’s investigation, yielding a total expenditure through September of $6,759,695. As the first end note of the report explains:

Although neither legally required nor reported in prior Special Counsels’ Statements of Expenditures, DOJ components that support the SCO were asked to track expenditures attributable to the investigations. The expenditures for this period totaled $3,546,000, which approximates expenditures the components would have incurred for the investigations irrespective of the existence of the SCO.

While not specified, the component most likely indicated is the FBI which has been cited in most publicly reported investigative activity surrounding the Mueller investigation.

The largest line item for the Special Counsel’s office itself is, unsurprisingly, personnel, at $1,709,597. The rate of expenditure on this is likely to increase over time as Mueller wenton a spree of high-caliber hires over the summer. The office also spent $733,969 acquiring equipment and $223,643 on travel.

For its efforts, so far the Special Counsel’s Office has secured a multi-count indictment against Paul Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates concerning activities with no apparent connection to either Russia or the 2016 presidential election, and guilty pleas from former National Security Advisor Micheal Flynn and low-level national security campaign staffer George Papadopolous for making false statements to the FBI. In both Flynn and Papadopolous’s cases, the underlying conduct they lied to the FBI about was not itself illegal.

Mueller’s order of appointment, issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May, specifies his investigation was to cover:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).

Regulation 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a) is part of the federal regulations authorizing special counsels. It expands a special counsel’s jurisdiction to crimes, such as perjury or obstruction of justice, that interfere with his original named responsibility.

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