The ongoing probes of Russian election meddling are roiling Washington, spawning new legal actions — and increasingly, emptying the pockets of the people involved in them.
Becoming ensnared in a federal investigation into the links between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Kremlin can pose a serious financial threat for those involved at any level.
In an interview with CNBC, former Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo described the financial strain of being a witness in the House Intelligence Committee's investigation.
"If you don't go into a congressional hearing thoroughly prepared, then you should bring a toothbrush, because you're going to be there a while," Caputo said in a phone interview.
While his legal fees were cheaper in his home state of New York than they would be in Washington, Caputo still paid about $25,000 per hearing. A good chunk of that fee actually goes toward producing the required documents for investigators. For Caputo, who has known and communicated with some of the central figures in the federal probes for decades, it's a huge task.
"If I have 800 emails where I mention Trump and Russia in the same email, figuring out which ones are of interest to an investigator is above my pay grade" to sift through alone, Caputo said.
Caputo said he first retained attorneys in March last year, after he was named by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., in congressional testimony as being Russian President Vladimir Putin's "image consultant." He has since filed an ethics complaint against Speier, whom he called "a liar all the way to the cellular level."