For someone who casts himself as an experienced businessman, Donald Trump sure is bad at using money responsibly. Additionally, the president is certainly quite fond of relying on other people to bail him out of tough situations, even though he’s supposedly got it made.
These two attributes of our current commander-in-chief have reportedly come together in a disturbing fashion over the past eight months or so of his presidency.
As is well known by now, Trump’s team is under investigation for possible ties to Russia by the team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and by an array of Congressional committees. For some time now, the president has maintained his own private legal team to represent him in these investigations.
Guess what funds are reportedly being used to pay the members of the president’s personal legal team? According to a new report from Reuters, Trump is paying his lawyers with campaign cash taken from his already established 2020 re-election campaign and from the RNC.
The Republican National Committee is literally propping up the president against the currently unfolding inquiries into his team — talk about a way to threaten the viability of your political party in the long run. Additionally, perhaps this report shines some light on why the president is so hellbent on campaigning for the 2020 election when the election isn’t for three years — he needs the money.
In classic “I’m guilty but not going to say it” fashion, the head of the president’s legal team, John Dowd, commented “that’s none of your business” when pressed about how the president’s legal bills are being paid. A spokesperson for the RNC pulled off not looking guilty much better than Dowd, declining to comment on the allegations of RNC funds being used for Russia-related legal expenses but revealing that the organization has paid non-Russia related legal fees for the campaign.
One of the two sources speaking to Reuters says that the first round of payments had already been made and would eventually be disclosed in public filings. Bizarrely, the “source did not explain how the costs would be allocated between the campaign and the RNC.”
The RNC, for its part, has another public disclosure set to come out very soon — on Wednesday the 20th — while the Trump campaign should have its next one out by October 15.
To be sure, for the president to use campaign funds to pay legal fees is not illegal; it’s simply unprecedented. As Reuters reports, election law experts explained to the outlet that “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.”
As for the size of the bill that Trump has tricked his base into footing, it remains unknown, but Reuters notes that already public filings reveal that the Trump campaign has paid a single law firm — Jones Day — over $4 million.
According to the Trump campaign’s last public filings, from the end of June, their amount of cash on hand had reached $12 million and counting.
Featured Image via MANDEL NGAN/ AFP/ Getty Images