Mueller details millions in cost of early months of probe

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated before President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey arrive at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington. A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian election meddling after the discovery of an exchange of text messages seen as potentially anti-President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office spent $3.2 million during the first few months of his investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with associates of President Donald Trump.

In addition, the Justice Department has spent $3.5 million to support the investigation, though the special counsel’s office says that money would have been spent anyway if Mueller had not been appointed. Mueller incorporated several ongoing investigations within the Justice Department including those of Trump campaign contacts with Russia, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s business activities and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The details of the expenditures related to Mueller’s investigation were laid out in a copy of the report obtained by The Associated Press, which was subsequently released publicly by the special counsel’s office. The report covers from May 17, the date of Mueller’s appointment, through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

Mueller’s office says in the report that about $1.7 million was for salary and benefits, and more than $223,000 was spent on travel-related expenses. Despite the international focus of Mueller’s probe, only about $2,800 was spent on actual travel costs. The rest was spent on the relocation of Justice Department employees temporarily assigned to the expanding investigation, the report shows.

So far, the special counsel has charged four people as part of the investigation including Manafort and Flynn.

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