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Here's How Much the Special Counsel Has Cost So Far

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NATION-NOW     Could President Trump fire Robert Mueller? He may try but it won't be easy.     
       Could Trump fire Mueller? It wouldn't be easy

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has spent more than $3.2 million in the opening months of his federal criminal investigation into Russian interference in last year's US election and whether President Donald Trump or anyone close to him colluded in it.

The special counsel's budget includes some one-time costs, such as $734,000 for equipment that the Justice Department will keep once the investigation ends, the statement of expenditures said.

Mueller III spent $3.2 million in the first 4½ months of his investigation into whether anyone from President Trump's team helped Russian interference with last year's presidential campaign.

Other spending was listed at $733,969 for equipment, $223,643 in travel, $362,550 for rent communications and utilities, $157,339 for contractual services and $26,442 for supplies and materials.

The expenditure report covers May 17, 2017 through September 30, 2017.

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Funds were spent on personnel, travel and office space, the Justice Department said.

It's hard to make comparisons to other investigations led by specially designated prosecutors or to draw conclusions about how much Mueller will ultimately spend. This comes as revelations have surfaced that former FBI Director Comey had drafted an "exoneration" memo of Clinton months before she and her top aides were interviewed and the investigation had concluded.

Since the probe began in May, the special counsel has charged four people, two of whom have pleaded guilty.

The Department of Justice revealed on Tuesday that almost $7 million has been spent so far on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In its report, Mueller's team notes that it draws its funding from a revolving "permanent, indefinite" appropriation for independent counsels provided by Congress, as well as from non-reimbursed Justice Department agency expenditures and from intelligence agency appropriations. He has announced criminal charges against four people so far, including Trump's former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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