Mueller hires more prosecutors as Russia probe moves forward: report
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly hiring additional prosecutors to work on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Several current and former U.S. officials said Mueller is adding prosecutors from U.S. attorney’s offices and the Justice Department headquarters, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Officials added that this could be a sign that Mueller is prepared to step away from the probe and leave it in the hands of a larger team of prosecutors, officials said.
Mueller’s team, currently composed of 17 federal prosecutors, is handling a large amount of casework associated with the yearlong investigation into Russian meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
More money is being directed toward the Justice Department’s permanent investigations rather than Mueller’s temporary probe, according to recent expense statements.
Mueller’s team spent $7.7 million from May 2017 through March. The Justice Department has spent $9 million through the same time frame.
The Washington Post reported late last month that several additional Mueller team members were specifically assigned to the indictments of 13 Russian nationals.
Those cases are expected to continue long after the probe into Trump campaign collusion is finished, according to the report.
Mueller has already handed off the investigation into Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Bloomberg reported.
Investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are investigating Cohen for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
The special counsel has already issued 20 indictments and secured five guilty pleas from individuals.
One of the most notable defendants is former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whom Mueller hit with a superseding indictment last month.
Manafort and his longtime aide Konstantin Kilimnik were accused of trying to coach two witnesses or prevent them from testifying.
A federal judge revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail in June.
He is charged with multiple financial crimes, including obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The allegations came from Mueller’s investigation. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
His trial is set to begin later this month.
Soloman Wisenberg, a former deputy independent counsel who investigated President Clinton, told Bloomberg that Manafort’s trial will require “all hands on deck.”