Mueller probe spending tops $17mn

Washington: The US Justice Department has spent more than $17 million on its Russia investigation since special counsel Robert Mueller was appointment in May 2017, according to a government report.

The report on Thursday revealed that of the $17 million, $10 million was spent from October until March, Politico news reported.

During this period, Mueller netted five guilty pleas and 17 indictments of people and companies as part of his examination of Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election, and whether the Kremlin coordinated its efforts with President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Mueller’s office in a statement said its spending was “within the approved budget”, though it’s still likely to draw complaints from Trump and his allies who have already found fault with the open-ended nature of the special counsel’s fiscal setup.

The President has long labelled the investigation a “witch hunt” that has strayed far from its original mandate.

Last month, Trump had targeted Mueller over spending.

Thursday report’s figure includes $874,069 for salaries and benefits for the Department of Justice’s own employees, and an additional $1.9 million to cover officials loaned out to the team, reports Politico.

The special counsel also reported spending $532,340 on travel and transportation as well as $226,730 on IT services and $29,694 on supplies and materials.

The next Department of Justice report — covering the period from April 1 to September 30 — will be released later this year.