Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The special counsel's investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election has cost nearly $17 million to date, since Robert Mueller was appointed to lead the probe in May of last year, according to new spending report released Thursday by the Justice Department.

By the numbers: $10 million was spent on expenses incurred between October 2017 through March of this year, detailing that $2.7 million was expended for salaries and benefits, $532,340 was expended for travel, and $264,114 was expended for contractual services. The department had previously said $6.7 million was used between May and September of last year. Mueller’s office told Politico in a statement that its spending was "within the approved budget."

The backdrop: The price tag is expected to infuriate President Trump and Republicans who have repeatedly railed against the wide-ranging probe. Trump had lashed out on twitter last May, saying "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?"

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2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

A coronavirus alarm bell is going off in the Midwest

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Positive rate shown is the 7-day average from June 1 to Aug. 6, 2020; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A cluster of states in the Midwest are seeing more of their coronavirus tests coming back positive — potentially an early indicator of a growing outbreak.

The state of play: A high positive rate means that a higher share of those getting tested are sick. That could be because there are more sick people, or because a state isn't doing enough testing.