Home News Special Counsel Inquiries Into Trump Cost at Least $5.4 Million

Special Counsel Inquiries Into Trump Cost at Least $5.4 Million

Special Counsel Inquiries Into Trump Cost at Least $5.4 Million

The investigations into former President Donald J. Trump’s hoarding of government files and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election cost taxpayers about $5.4 million from November through March as the special counsel, Jack Smith, moved toward charging Mr. Trump, the Justice Department disclosed on Friday.

Budgeting documents also showed that Robert K. Hur, the special counsel investigating President Biden’s handling of classified documents after he left the vice presidency, spent just under $616,000 from his appointment in January through March.

And John H. Durham, who was appointed special counsel during the Trump administration to investigate the Russia inquiry, reported spending a little over $1.1 million from October 2022 to the end of March, representing the first half of the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Mr. Durham’s investigation had ended, but he was writing a final report he delivered in May.

The budget disclosures covered an extraordinary period in which the Justice Department had three special counsels — prosecutors who operate with a greater degree of day-to-day autonomy than ordinary U.S. attorneys — at work. With the conclusion of Mr. Durham’s investigation, two such inquiries remain.

Last month, Mr. Smith, who was appointed in November, obtained a grand jury indictment against Mr. Trump and an aide, Walt Nauta. The former president faces 31 counts of unauthorized retention of secret national-security documents and six other counts involving accusations of obstructing the investigation and causing one of his lawyers to lie to the government.

Mr. Smith has also continued to investigate Mr. Trump and several of his associates over the efforts to overturn the 2020 election results that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters. Both investigations have involved significant litigation over Mr. Trump’s attempts to block grand-jury testimony by various witnesses under attorney-client privilege.

The largest line item of spending by Mr. Smith through the end of March — $2,672,783 — covered personnel compensation and expenses, according to the statement of expenditures. Most of that salary money was to reimburse the Justice Department for employees who already worked for the government and had been detailed to the special counsel’s office.

Mr. Smith’s operation also paid $1,881,926 for contractual services, including litigation and investigative support and purchasing transcripts.

Mr. Hur’s investigation has been much quieter. Mr. Garland appointed him in January after several classified documents were found at a former office of Mr. Biden’s in Washington and at his home in Wilmington, Del. Mr. Biden and his lawyers, who alerted the government to the discoveries and have portrayed their retention as inadvertent, have said they are cooperating with the investigation.

The largest line item in Mr. Hur’s office during the two and a half months covered by the budgeting document was also personnel compensation and benefits, at $346,139. That figure indicates that his operation is significantly smaller than Mr. Smith’s, reflecting the narrower scope of his assignment.

Of the three special counsels, only Mr. Durham’s office was operating for the entire six-month period covered by the budgeting documents. His largest expenditure — $544,044 — also covered employee salaries and benefits.

To date, Mr. Durham has reported spending about $7.7 million in taxpayer funds since Attorney General William P. Barr gave him special counsel status in October 2020, entrenching him to continue his investigation after Mr. Trump lost the election.

Mr. Durham, however, began his assignment in the spring of 2019, and the Justice Department has not disclosed what taxpayers spent on about the first 16 months of his work. That period included trips to Europe as Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham fruitlessly pursued a pro-Trump conspiracy theory that the Russia inquiry had originated in a plot by Western spy agencies.

Mr. Durham also later developed two narrow cases accusing nongovernment officials of making false statements, both of which ended in acquittals.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here