Mueller's Russian Federation probe cost his office $3.2 mln in first four months

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The price tag is likely to rile Republicans who have been critical of Mueller's team and wary of a lengthy and costly investigation, though independent counsels have in the past spent tens of millions of dollars on lengthy probes.

While the expenses associated with the special counsel's team total $3.2 million, the report notes that an additional $3.5 million was spent during the course of the investigation on DOJ components that support the investigation.

The special counsel's office operates with a degree of autonomy within the Justice Department, but reports to Rosenstein regarding its budget and "certain other matters", Rosenstein said. The Justice Department's report covered the period from May 17 to September 30.

Mueller's 17 lawyers - some reassigned from within the government and others brought in from private practice - have charged or negotiated plea deals with four former Trump campaign or administration officials, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

When the News4 I-Team asked Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he was satisfied with the work thus far of the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel, Rosenstein said yes. The majority of the travel costs stemmed from the relocation of Justice Department employees temporarily assigned to the expanding investigation.

Equipment acquisitions marks the second-highest expense, coming in at more than $733,000, followed by costs for rent and utilities, travel and transportation, and contractual services. Starr's sprawling investigation, which led the House to impeach Clinton for perjury, contributed to Congress letting a law that gave special investigators wide independence expire in 1999. Both men admitted to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about their contacts with Russians related to their work for Trump.

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Though Mueller's investigation is not yet a year old, his team of prosecutors have made significant moves.

The budget overview notes that its funding comes from a "permanent, indefinite" appropriation for independent counsels to do their work, meaning if can not be touched by Congress.

In addition, Manafort and his longtime business associate, Rick Gates, are now facing several felony charges brought by the special counsel's office.

In a statement, the special counsel's office said it will release a similar expenditure report after March 31, 2018.

Last week, Flynn pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigators.

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