Here's how the Mueller investigation could end up being 'free' for taxpayers
Special counsel Robert Mueller on CNN (screen capture)

Donald Trump has regularly complained about how much special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation costs — but it may have just paid for itself with its latest catch.

According to the Washington Post, the government seized $16 million in bank accounts, $4.5 million in life insurance policies and $22 million worth of property from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort forfeited in his plea deal with Mueller.

Trump, the Post's Phillip Bump wrote, has twice cited multi-million dollar figures on Twitter in reference to the cost of the Mueller probe.

"The government’s seizures from Manafort could be worth about $42 million, including the upper estimates of just the properties, Federal Savings Bank loan and insurance policies," Bump wrote, adding that the figure "doesn’t include the other accounts, which might contain some portion of the $30 million" in "ill-gotten gains" identified by the government.

"What was seized could also be, and probably is, a much smaller amount," the writer added, noting that Manafort claimed to be worth $28 million when he was first indicted — before he "spent months defending himself in court."

"That claim, though, is worth taking with a grain of salt," Bump concluded. "We know that Manafort’s past assertions have proved to be inaccurate, to put it mildly."

The Post estimated that Mueller's probe has cost $25.9 million since it began in 2017 based on a projection of Justice Department costs, which noted in late May that the investigation cost $16.7 million in its first year.