Here’s How The Mueller Investigation Compares To Past Probes
Trump and the GOP claim Mueller’s probe is overlong and too expensive. History says otherwise…
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. House Republicans fielded their various conspiracy theories, trying to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. And Republicans parroted one of their favorite talking points, claiming that this investigation has dragged on for too long.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), infamous for his Benghazi investigation into Hillary Clinton (which lasted longer than the Mueller probe so far and found no wrongdoing on Clinton’s part), called on the probe to end.
GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy takes a shot at the special counsel probe while questioning FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “Whatever you got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart” https://t.co/QfDYDOYSKS
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 28, 2018
Another talking point the GOP and President Trump push is the notion that Mueller’s probe is too expensive.
All of these arguments aren’t based in reality, to say the least. If you stack the Russia investigation up against past special counsel and independent counsel investigations, Mueller’s probe is far shorter, has yielded more charges in a shorter period of time, and is way more cost effective. Let’s put this in perspective:
The Watergate investigation took down President Nixon after 2 years (trials continued on for two more years) and cost $6.3 million ($32.3 million in today’s dollars if you adjust for inflation). Important to note, the “smoking gun” that caused Nixon to resign was the release of tapes revealing Nixon telling his staff to end the FBI’s investigation into Watergate…Also important to note, President Trump has done that multiple times in private and on Twitter…he is still President as of the time of this writing.
The Iran-Contra investigation lasted for over 6 years and almost consumed President Reagan, as FiveThirtyEight pointed out. Some of his administration’s officials were indicted. It cost $47.4 million ($102 million in today’s dollars if you adjust for inflation).
The Whitewater investigation consumed Bill Clinton’s presidency. 7 years and $70 million later ($82 million in today’s dollars if you adjust for inflation), Independent Counsel Ken Starr arrived upon Monica Lewinsky and the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit was used as a way to depose Clinton, leading to his perjury/obstruction of justice impeachment referral…
Mueller’s investigation, however, has much higher stakes. Our democracy depends on it, frankly. This is no longer just a probe into Russian interference (espionage, coordinated propaganda, etc.) and the Trump campaign’s potential collusion – it’s a multi-faceted counterintelligence investigation. It also probes financial crimes on the part of Trump’s associates as well as international corruption involving Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. The investigation had also yielded at least 76 charges against 23 people or companies, and 5 guilty pleas (3 of which came from Trump’s associates). And it has only been a little over one year, costing around $20 million so far. And with previously undisclosed Russian contacts being revealed every week, it makes sense that this investigation continues.
To put this even more in perspective, Donald Trump’s 100+ golf trips as president has cost almost $70 million so far.
So…what were you saying, Mr. Gowdy?