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Special counsel has spent millions investigating Trump

Special Counsel Jack Smith has spent more than $5 million investigating former President Donald Trump, according to a Justice Department tally.
Chip Somodevilla
Getty Images
Special Counsel Jack Smith has spent more than $5 million investigating former President Donald Trump, according to a Justice Department tally.

The special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump's refusal to return classified documents as well as key aspects of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol siege, has spent $5.4 million on his tasks so far, according to a newly published financial report about his first months in office.

More than half of the money expended by Jack Smith, a former war crimes prosecutor who also once led the Justice Department unit that investigates public corruption, covered salaries for lawyers and other DOJ employees. Another $1.6 million went to litigation or investigative support, the new filing said.

Smith, who has been receiving threats, is protected by a security detail from the U.S. Marshals Service. His office spent $1.9 million in salaries for marshals through March 31 of this year, the Justice Department said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith last November, shortly after Trump formally declared himself a candidate to return to the White House in 2024, and after the sitting president, Joe Biden, strongly signaled he would run for reelection.

Smith has charged Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta, with conspiracy to obstruct the probe into classified documents as well as other felony offenses. Both men have pleaded not guilty in a federal courthouse in south Florida.

The Justice Department regularly releases spending reports for its special counsels, who are named in cases where senior leaders determine it would represent a conflict of interest for regular prosecutors to lead an investigation and that it is in the "public interest" to appoint an outsider to take responsibility.

DOJ also released financial reports on two other special counsels Friday.

Robert Hur, the former U.S. Attorney in Baltimore during the Trump administration, is overseeing an investigation into the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Engagement in Washington, D.C., and at his Wilmington, Del., residence. Hur was named Jan. 12, 2023 and started work in February. He has spent nearly $616,000 so far. About half, or $310,000, went to marshals to cover security.

Finally, John Durham, who was named by former Trump attorney general Bill Barr to look into the FBI's investigation of Trump and Russia, spent $1.2 million between October 2022 and March 2023. During most of that time, Durham was writing his final report. In the course of his tenure, he built on an inspector general investigation to reach a plea deal with a former FBI lawyer. Durham lost two other prosecutions in federal courts in Washington and Northern Virginia. He testified to the House Judiciary Committee last month, in what may be the final word on his work.

An earlier investigation by special counsel and former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III took nearly two years to charge Americans with ties to the Trump 2016 campaign and several Russian individuals and entities. That probe spent $32 million, the Justice Department said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.

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