By Jack Phillips
Special counsel Jack Smith’s wide-ranging investigation into former President Donald Trump has cost taxpayers over $9 million since he was appointed last year, according to a newly released government report on Friday.
His team has incurred some $5.4 million in rent, personnel, and other costs, while another $3.8 million in “component expenses” was also incurred by other Justice Department (DOJ) agencies over four months, according to figures (pdf) released by the DOJ on Friday. Last year, Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped Smith, a former Hague prosecutor, to oversee multiple probes targeting the former president, while Mr. Trump has characterized Smith as a partisan actor who is working on behalf of the Democrats to undermine him.
“Although not legally required, DOJ components that support the Smith special counsel office were asked to track non-reimbursed expenditures attributable to this investigation, which includes hours worked by agents and investigative support analysts, as well as the cost of protective details for the Special Counsel when warranted,” the DOJ report said. “The expenditures for this period totaled $3,818,818.”
About $2 million was used for federal employee salaries, another $1 million was paid for investigative support, and some $80,000 was used to help employees relocate while they worked for Smith. The report runs through March 31 of this year.
In comparison, special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the controversial FBI Crossfire Hurricane probe cost about $1 million in the same time period, while special counsel Robert Hur’s probe has cost some $600,000, according to reports. Meanwhile, former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, which ultimately did not reveal that Mr. Trump colluded with the Russian government, cost a whopping $32 million upon its conclusion.
Months after Mr. Smith was appointed, Mr. Hur was named by Mr. Garland to head the investigation into the handling of classified documents found at President Joe Biden’s home and private office. A report issued by the DOJ showed that he spent most of his expenses on employee pay.
Overall, Mr. Durham’s team spent about $9.4 million over several years, according to a filing, starting in late 2020 after then-Attorney General Bill Barr named him to head the investigation into the origins of the Trump–Russia probe and collusion narrative. His work ended in May after releasing a significant, 300-page report that faulted the FBI’s leadership for approving the investigation into Mr. Trump—although no charges were filed against any current employees at the FBI or DOJ and no one was fired.
That investigation netted one guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer who admitted to falsifying an email about a surveillance warrant for a former Trump aide. Mr. Durham’s prosecutions against a Democratic campaign lawyer, Michael Sussmann, and Igor Danchenko, who was used as a source for a controversial and widely discredited dossier, ended up in acquittals, respectively.
Last month, Mr. Smith presented charges against Mr. Trump that alleged the former president mishandled classified documents and make false statements to a grand jury, which indicted the 45th president. His office claimed that Mr. Trump misled federal officials in an attempt to allegedly hold on to sensitive material that he knew was not declassified.
In a court hearing in Miami, Mr. Trump entered a not guilty plea. On Truth Social and in public appearances since then, the former commander-in-chief claimed that the investigation is politically motivated and that Mr. Smith may even bear a personal animus against Mr. Trump and said it’s a naked attempt to harm his chances at winning the presidency in 2024.
A number of polls show that Mr. Trump is leading other GOP candidates by large margins. An average of polls shows Mr. Trump has 53 percent support, compared with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has about 20.9 percent, and No. 3 is former Vice President Mike Pence with 6.3 percent.
Mr. Smith’s office is also investigating Mr. Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach and his claims made after the 2020 presidential election. It’s not clear when either of those investigations will conclude.
Earlier this week, an aide to Mr. Trump, Walt Nauta, pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped the former president hide classified documents from federal authorities, appearing with a new Florida-based lawyer to represent him as the case moves forward. Mr. Nauta was charged alongside Mr. Trump in June in a 38-count indictment alleging the mishandling of classified documents.
His arraignment was to have happened twice before, but he had struggled to retain a lawyer licensed in Florida and one appearance was postponed because of his travel troubles.
Ahead of his arraignment, Mr. Nauta hired Sasha Dadan, a criminal defense attorney and former public defender whose main law office is in Fort Pierce, where the judge who would be handling the trial is based. She appeared in court with Mr. Nauta, alongside his Washington lawyer, Stanley Woodward, who entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.