Trump Is Using Campaign Funds to Pay Mounting Legal Bills in Russia Investigation

This makes him the first US president to use these funds to respond to a criminal probe.

Mikhail Klimentyev/Zuma

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Donald Trump is using donations to his reelection campaign and from the Republican National Committee to foot the legal bills associated with the ongoing probe into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, according to two sources who spoke to Reuters

One source noted that some of the funds for these legal bills have already been paid out, though it is still unclear exactly how much money has been or will be paid. The RNC is scheduled to make its August spending public on Wednesday. The Trump campaign’s next disclosure is expected on October 15.

Trump’s use of these donations is likely permitted by the Federal Election Commission, which allows the use of private campaign funds to cover legal costs associated with being a candidate or elected official. Reuters explains:

While previous presidential campaigns have used these funds to pay for routine legal matters such as ballot access disputes and compliance requirements, Trump would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe, said election law experts.

The lawyer leading Trump’s response to the Russia probe, John Dowd, declined to discuss the source of payments for Trump’s legal bills with Reuters, saying, “That’s none of your business.” 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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