Donald Trump
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

From the beginning, Donald Trump has been rage-tweeting about the Mueller investigation. He’s thrown out every lie and conspiracy theory he can dream up. Here’s one from back in May:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/996391840860471296

Just five days later, either Mueller had gone on a gigantic spending spree, or the president demonstrated that he was blatantly lying:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/998189366844559360

Six months later, the figure had suddenly jumped another $10 million:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1067404517841518593

But a mere two days later, it positively exploded another $10 million:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1068116413498429445

Who needs a fact-checker when the president makes it so obvious that he’s just making numbers up out of whole cloth?

What is actually exploding here is Trump’s anxiety. The president is totally clueless about how much the Mueller investigation is costing. But as things heat up around him, the lies get bigger. It’s like a toddler who’s not getting his way and thinks that stomping his feet harder will change things. I never want to get over being shocked that so often the best analogy for this president’s behavior is a tantruming toddler.

For those of you who are actually interested in knowing the truth, Politifact did a check after the second tweet above that claimed the investigation was costing $20 million. Based on an initial report from Mueller’s office, they estimate that the costs at the time (after one full year) would be about $8.5 million. If they continued to spend at the same rate, six months later it would be approaching a total of $13 million. Politifact also provided this for some added context:

The investigation of President Bill Clinton over Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky — headed by Kenneth Starr and then by his successor, Robert Ray — cost upward of $52 million over half a decade. Another $40 million-plus went toward a handful of other Clinton-era independent counsel investigations.

Meanwhile, the investigation of Reagan administration officials over the Iran-Contra Affair, headed by Lawrence Walsh, topped out at more than $47 million over a roughly similar period.

Those figures are direct costs only, and are not adjusted for inflation. Their price tags would be far higher when converted to 2018 dollars.

I’ll add one more number for some perspective. The Pentagon told Congress that the Trump administration’s deployment of troops to our southern border will cost about $210 million. Just imagine what Mueller could do with that kind of cash!

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.