The Justice Department’s (DOJ) Special Counsel’s Office (SCO), under which Robert Mueller and his “Russia investigation” operate, issued its required biannual spending report, showing a significant increase in the investigation’s spending rate.
The report indicates the SCO spent $4,506,624 in the period from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, while other DOJ components spent $5,476,000 in the same time frame in support of Mueller’s investigation, yielding a total of $9,982,624.
The figure represents an 11 percent increase in the rate of spending compared to the SCO’s first reporting period — May 17, 2017 to September 30, 2017 — when spending totaled a combined $6,759,695 over that shorter period.
The largest line item, as during the last period, was personnel compensation and benefits, amounting to $2,738,131. Second was “Rent, Communications, and Utilities” at $886,403. The SCO spent $532,340 on travel, the vast majority of which was “temporary duty relocation of DOJ employees detailed to the SCO.”
The exact boundaries of the Mueller investigation have never been made clear to the public. More came to light with the release of a redacted “scope memo” issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the course of the prosecution of one of the indicted targets of the investigation, Paul Manafort. The judge in one of Manafort’s trials demanded and has now received an unredacted version of that memo.
While ostensibly aimed at Russian election interference and “collusion” between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian agents, reports continue to indicate the true focus of the investigation is supposed obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump and his administration. The president has referred to this tactic as a “trap.”
According to President Trump’s defense attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, however, Mueller’s office has assured him they agree with traditional thinking that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
Giuliani said Wednesday that Mueller should conclude his investigation by this September. The move was reminiscent of Giuliani’s predecessor, Ty Cobb, who continually set suggested deadlines for the investigation, all of which Mueller and his team disregarded.