Robert Mueller's report is expected to be made public on Thursday, and while parts of it are expected to remain under wraps, some elements of the probe are known to the public – including its cost.
From the day the special counsel was appointed and throughout his 22-month investigation, his office has released statements of expenditures every few months detailing its spendings.
Three such statements are currently available, with a fourth one likely coming soon.
Based on the published statements, plus an estimate of what is to come in the fourth statement, it appears likely that the Mueller investigation itself will have cost around $17m.
The special counsel’s office also reported Department of Justice spending that supported its activities, stating that it wasn’t legally required to do so and that those expenditures would have occurred regardless of whether or not the special counsel’s office was conducting an investigation. If those additional expenditures are taken into account, the final estimate for the cost of the Mueller investigation reaches around $31m.
Mr Mueller’s office filed its first expense report for the period of 17 May, 2017 (when Mr Mueller was first appointed as special counsel) to 30 September, 2017.
The special counsel’s expenses for that period came to roughly $3.2m, with an additional $3.5m in DOJ expenditures, amounting to $6.7m in total.
The second expense report covers the period from 1 October, 2017 to 31 March, 2018 and includes costs of $4.5m with an additional $5.5 in DOJ expenditures, meaning about $10m total.
The third expense report is dated 1 April, 2018 to 30 September, 2018, and states that Mr Mueller’s office spent $4.5m, with approximately $4m of additional DOJ spendings, for a total of about $8.5m.
This means that the special counsel’s office has reported a total of about $12.2m in spendings without the DOJ expenditures, and $25.2m if DOJ expenditures are taken into account.
While the fourth and final expense report has yet to be published, it is possible to make an estimate based on the three reports that have already been filed.
The fourth report will cover a period of six months (between September 2018 and March 2019). Based on the previous three reports, will likely feature expenses of between $4m and $5m for the special counsel’s office, meaning a conservative total estimate of $16m to $17m. If the DOJ components are included at a projection of approximately $5m, the previous total of $25.2 jumps to about $30m or $31m.
This is below figures previously touted by Donald Trump, who in a November 2018 tweet claimed the probe had cost $40m.
Mr Mueller’s report found no evidence that Mr Trump’s campaign ”conspired or coordinated” with Russian officials to influence the 2016 election, according to a letter authored by Attorney General William Barr.
The special counsel initially submitted his findings to Mr Barr Barr, who in March released a four-page summary. Mr Mueller said in a passage from the report quoted by Mr Barr that there was no evidence that Trump “was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference”, but he reached no conclusion on whether Mr Trump obstructed justice.
Mr Mueller neither accused Mr Trump of obstruction of justice in trying to impede the investigation nor exonerated him of obstruction, according to Mr Barr’s summary.
The Justice Department expects to make a redacted version of Mr Mueller's report on the Russia investigation public on Thursday morning.
The redacted report would be sent to Congress and also made available to the public, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said on Monday.
Additional reporting by agencies
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies