Trump using campaign, RNC funds to pay legal bills from Russian Federation probe

Mikhail Klimentyev  Zuma

Reuters wasn't able to determine how much private money Trump has poured into his legal fees, but "o$3 ne person familiar with the matter said the first payments, the amount of which Reuters could not determine, has already been made and would be disclosed in public filings". For instance, Hillary Clinton's campaign made no payments to the firm representing her in the email scandal, according to the Reuters reporters.

RNC spokesperson Cassie Smedile confirmed to Reuters that Trump's lead lawyer, John Dowd, received $100,000 from the RNC and that the RNC also paid $131,250 to the Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, the law firm where Jay Sekulow, another of Trump's lawyers, is a partner. The Trump campaign's next disclosure is expected on October 15.

While some may have an ethical problem with the president using the money for his legal team, it's perfectly legal. While it's legal and routine for elected officials to use campaign funds to pay legal bills arising from things like recounts and ballot access disputes, it's highly unusual for them to use such funds to defend against a criminal probe.

But the RNC wouldn't be the only organization to cover Mr. Trump's mounting legal bills, as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation continues to plague the White House. Trump hired his longtime NY lawyer Marc Kasowitz to head his defense team in May, but Kasowitz stepped down in July, with Dowd taking over the lead role, according to a people familiar.

President Donald Trump may say he's a billionaire.

The Trump campaign sent $538,264 in the second quarter of 2016 to Jones Day, its legal counsel, as the Russian Federation investigation intensified. Trump's three fundraising committees ended June with $22.6 million of cash on hand, including $11.9 million just in his campaign coffers.

A number of other current and former Trump staffers have also recently hired lawyers.



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