The Latest: Russia investigation’s costs hit $16 million
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the Russia investigation (all times local):
The special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and any coordination with President Donald Trump’s campaign has cost more than $16 million so far.
That’s according to a financial report released Thursday by the Justice Department.
The investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller accounted for nearly $10 million between October and March. That’s on top of the $6.7 million spent on the probe the previous four months.
The Justice Department says a large portion of the costs, about $9 million, would have been spent regardless of the special counsel’s appointment.
The release of the report comes as Trump has repeatedly lashed out at the investigation as a “witch hunt” and called for it to be wrapped up soon.
Republicans are distancing themselves from Rudy Giuliani’s description of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators as a “lynching mob.”
Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee says he’s not going to defend Giuliani “because those aren’t words that I would use. That’s pretty strong language.”
Lee was interviewed Thursday on CNN. He said, “based on what I know now, those are not words that I would use to describe this. This is an investigation.”
Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, spoke on Fox News’ “Hannity” show, and said there are “guys with ethical issues” at Justice Department. “You got a group there, a lynching mob,” he said.
He was interviewed Wednesday night on Fox.
President Donald Trump says he didn’t fire FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation, despite previously citing that as the reason.
Trump tweeted Thursday: “Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!”
Trump fired Comey in May 2017. A few days later, Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he fired Comey. The New York Times reported Trump told Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that month Comey’s dismissal had “taken off” pressure he faced “because of Russia.”
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, told Fox News Trump fired Comey because Comey wouldn’t state “that he wasn’t a target” of the Russia probe.