Everything comes at a cost, and the American people know this too well. Ever since the Mueller probe began, figures have been thrown around mostly to discourage the team from going on with the investigations, with the President going as far as calling it a witch hunt. Whether it is a witch hunt or search for the truth, it has come bearing heavy expenses but are they worth it? Let's see.
The launch of the Mueller probe
When Donald Trump became the President of the United States, some were pleased, and others could barely hide their dislike for the newly-elected president. Some took to social media to express their disappointment and others publicly declared that the presidential win was not a win but a conspiracy that involved Russia. Where there is smoke, there is fire, and with such allegations, it was only right that investigations into the claims begin, at least to clear the air for the public and the President. With allegations of corruption and such deceit, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was appointed to lead the probe into the charges in 2017.
Cost so far
Many people have been grilled to get to the bottom of this saga, and it has not come cheaply. For the first four and a half months since launching the probe, the total cost came to around $6.7 million as Mueller revealed. From October 2017 to the end of March 2018, the number had almost doubled since it stood at $10 million. The probe went on, and of course, the figure has been going up as well, and by December 2018, the cost was $25 million.
Such a considerable expense has not been well received especially when the reports reveal that more than half of the expenditure has gone to personal compensation and benefits. It is consequently no wonder that we also start to do the cost-benefit analysis of this probe and get to know if it is just a wild goose chase wasting away American's budget or there could be something good to come of it.
Making the probe profitable
Fortunately, Mueller Probe has cost $25 million but has been profitable. Indeed, Mueller has brought in some people and companies to the hot seat, and some of the accused have pleaded guilty including Micheal Flynn, former Trump national security adviser, Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chairman, and George Papadopoulos the former foreign campaign adviser. In September 2018, Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman pleaded guilty to charges leveled against him leading to him to be sentenced for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Paul agreed, as part of his deal, to forfeit his assets, in real estate worth about $22 million and cash as well, with the total amount going to between $42 million and $46 million.
There was evidence revealing how Paul avoided paying tax totaling to over $15 million by laundering money from pro-Russian Ukrainians, amounting to $60 million. Paul Manafort did not keep his part of the deal, and he could face extra charges for the violation. Michael Cohen, on the other hand, pleaded guilty to financial crimes that included paying money to a Playboy model and pornstar to keep them quiet. He also made a deal in which he agreed to pay $100,000 in fines, hand over $500,000 in assets and pay $1.4 million in unpaid taxes.
With such figures, it seems that Mueller has been able to not only sniff out the corruption that went on in the campaigns but also turn the probe into a profitable one, despite the worry that the cost was too high. Once the guilty parties can honor their deal, the money recovered will be more than enough to cover the investigations although the Justice team was quick to announce that the funds will not be used to fund the probe team directly.
However, even the President has not been happy about the investigations, and he took to Twitter in June 2018 to express his disapproval, saying that the Muller probe had cost the American government $17 million and the figure would go up fast. His supporters such as Rudy Giulini the former New York Mayor also said in May 2018 that the investigations were unfounded and leading nowhere yet had cost $20 million.
Well, Mueller has proved them wrong, and he is not yet done. It has been only two years, and Mueller has uncovered the wrongdoings and people have been sentenced. No one knows what these investigations will unearth and how many more people will be found guilty. We can only wait for Muller to prove to us that indeed, the probe is not a waste of money but rather a hot pursuit for justice for the American people.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker