With special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation over and his report submitted, it seems President Trump is vindicated; now it’s time for an accounting. After nearly two years of investigation, what do we have to show for it?
Mueller’s Money Pit
How much the entire Russiagate fiasco will have cost us when all is said and done, we’ll likely never know. Mueller’s investigation, while only one facet of the debacle, we can at least quantify in dollars, more or less. The Special Counsel’s Office (SCO) has thrice released “Statement of Expenditures” reports, each covering a six-month period and accounting for the direct and reimbursed expenditures.
In the first period, extending from May,17 2017 to September 30, 2017, SCO spent $3,213,695 in direct expenditures. Though not legally required, they also disclosed another $3,546,000 in indirect expenditures – called DOJ component expenses in the report – totaling $6,759,695 reported for the first six months of the investigation. The second release, covering October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, showed $4,506,624 in direct expenditures and $5,476,000 in component expenses, for a total of $9,982,624. The April 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 statement reports $4,567,533 in direct and $3,906,000 in indirect expenditures, totaling 8,473,533 for the third period.
It has now been about six months since this last report, and with the investigation officially over, there ought to be a final statement coming soon. If we assume that the SCO spend roughly the same amount of money in these last six months – mere conjecture, of course, but all we have to go on at the moment – the total cost as reported by the SCO will likely fall in the $30,000,000 to $35,000,000 range.
Mueller’s office has argued that the indirect expenditures don’t really count to the taxpayer’s tab, as they represent money the DOJ would have spent even without the SCO investigation:
“DOJ component expenses: Although neither legally required nor reported in prior Special Counsels’ Statements of Expenditures, DOJ components that support the SCO were asked to track expenditures attributable to the investigations. The expenditures for this period totaled $3,546,000, which approximates expenditures the components would have incurred for the investigations irrespective of the existence of the SCO.”
However, one could argue that this still belongs in the total tally. After all, these resources – including man-hours by DOJ and FBI personnel – would have been dedicated to other cases had they not been redirected. In other words, that money and time would have gone to investigating real crimes had Mueller and the rest of the anti-Trump resistance not led the American taxpayers on what amounted to a political snipe hunt. But they did – and we’re the ones left holding the bag. If any justice were to be found here, we the people wouldn’t have to shoulder the cost. As one Liberty Nation reader commented on our initial report:
“All of the time and energy put into this crap and it will probably lead to nothing! If it does indeed end up being nothing was found, then there should really be some pretty serious consequences for this kind of a waste of money and time…like all accusing democrats involved being relieved of their positions.
What a joke.”
But we all know that won’t happen.
The Human Cost
Of the 34 individuals indicted, 26 were Russians, one was a Brit, and only 7 were actual American citizens. Some of these Americans – and the Brit – were charged with process crimes, like obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. These guys weren’t necessarily guilty of anything that would otherwise have been considered either wrong or illegal – yet they paid the price for how they reacted to being targeted by the investigation to begin with.
George Papadopoulos was charged with lying to the FBI – but notice the conspicuous lack of indictment for any crime they may have been looking at him for. Similarly, Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI – but was charged with no other wrongdoing. Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer from London, also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in relation to the Russia investigation. Finally, Mueller went after long-time Trump advisor Roger Stone for – you guessed it – lying. He allegedly lied to the House Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign, then tampered with a witness who threatened his story. Unlike many of the others, however, Mr. Stone has proven to be a difficult nut to crack.
What has this farce cost these men? Their careers, at least some of their wealth, and their freedom. Beyond that, the damage done to their reputations and the strife that was almost certainly introduced to their family lives from this is impossible to determine. None of that matters to the anti-Trumpers, of course – the ends always justify the means.
Whole Lotta Nothin’
So what did the broken lives and wasted time, money, and effort buy us? Nothing worth having. Those who support the president, while glad that this, at least, is more or less over, lament the waste – and the fact that they are stuck paying the tab. The other side is already locked into spin mode – generating more fake news and widening the growing ideological chasm that now splits the nation. As LN’s Graham J. Noble wrote: “The new narrative is already emerging: Either Mueller missed something or the Department of Justice is about to orchestrate a cover-up.” There will likely be a great cost to the Democrats and their media pals, of course, in the credibility of their investigations against Trump or even other political opponents in the future. But they’ll double down and dig the hole even deeper. Of course they will; they’re too invested in the “Trump’s a terrible person” narrative to do anything else.