14:43 GMT17 April 2021
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    On Friday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that the US government has spent over $17 million on a “Russian Hoax” investigation. However, Trump may have spent that much - if not more - on his many trips to his Florida resort.

    According to data submitted to the Justice Department by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, the probe into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections stood at about $16.7 million in its first 10 and a half months. It sounds like a lot of money, until one puts things in perspective by acknowledging that the federal government is expected to spend $4.1 trillion in the 2018 fiscal year. 

    In addition, after Trump took office, Judicial Watch reported that each one of Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago — his private luxury bolthole in Florida — costs about $1 million. The figures include Secret Service protection and Air Force One travel. According to the Washington Post, since Trump took office, he has been to Mar-a-Lago a minimum of 17 times.

    According to Judicial Watch, the cost of Trump's Mar-a-Lago trips calculated above do not include airlifting equipment like presidential limousines or all the protection costs. In July 2017, the Coast Guard spent some $6.6 million protecting the resort during Trump's first five visits there after becoming president, according to the data.

    Trump has naturally been tight-lipped about his leisure time, which apparently includes a lot of golf. According to the Washington Post, this could be because Trump has excessively criticized two-term US President Barack Obama's golfing and travel habits.

    On Thursday, House Democrats wrote a letter complaining that the Trump White House is ignoring its requests for information from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). 

    "We are writing to request that you hold an immediate hearing on the dramatic decision by the White House to obstruct investigations by our independent investigators at the Government Accountability Office," according to the letter.

    "We ask that the Committee obtain testimony from the White House Counsel and the General Counsel of GAO. The Committee must act swiftly to determine who instructed White House staff to refuse to provide information to GAO, as well as to evaluate the justification for this decision and its potential to impair Congress from fulfilling its Constitutional oversight responsibilities."

    Russia has repeatedly denied all allegations that it interfered in the 2016 US presidential election, calling the accusations groundless. Trump, for his part, has consistently complained that Mueller's investigation is a "witch hunt."


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    collusion, Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump, US
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