Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly tapping “additional Justice Department resources” for help with new legal battles, which will increase the costs of the more than $17 million investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Mueller is tapping more FBI agents, in addition to career prosecutors, to work on the probe.
The total cost for the probe in its first ten months has been $16.7 million, or an average of $1.67 million per month. According to that monthly average, the cost to date could now be more than $20 million.
U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill, paying for the salaries and benefits of the lawyers, their travel and transportation while working on the probe, any contracted services such as IT support, equipment, and other expenditures.
Mueller requested the help of four more prosecutors in May and June, in addition to his 17-lawyer team.
Those lawyers are Uzo Asonye from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jonathan Kravis, Deborah Curtis, and Kathryn Rakoczky, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
Investigators in New York and Pittsburgh have also been tapped to supplement Mueller’s team.
According to Bloomberg, the additional resources could be a sign Mueller plans to pass off parts of his investigation to those prosecutors eventually. For example, Mueller handed off the investigation into Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen to the Southern District of New York.
But the assignments also could be in response to legal challenges to his indictments, Bloomberg reported. Manafort, who has been charged with financial crimes that pre-dated his work on the Trump campaign, has been fighting the charges in two federal courthouses, and recently expanded his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
A Russian company, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, Mueller indicted in February is also fighting charges on violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere with the 2016 election.
And a former Roger Stone adviser, Andrew Miller, has also filed a sealed motion to fight one of Muller’s grand jury subpoenas.
Asonye has been assigned to United States of America versus Paul J. Manafort, Jr. Kravis, Curtis, and Rakoczky are assigned to United States of America versus Concord Management and Consulting, LLC.
The assignments do not increase the size of Mueller’s 17-person team, but increases DOJ costs dedicated to the probe.
In fact, in the first ten months of the probe, costs for the DOJ – $9 million – have outpaced the cost of Mueller’s dedicated team, at $7.7 million.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, has allowed him to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” in addition to whether Trump and any associates colluded with Russia.