President Donald Trump is reportedly using money donated to his 2020 re-election campaign and funds from the Republican National Committee to pay for lawyers involved in his defense of the sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
While some may have an ethical problem with the president using the money for his legal team, it’s perfectly legal. The Federal Election Commission allows for the use of private campaign money to be used to pay for legal bills arising from being a candidate or public official, Reuters reported on Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Always in campaign mode: Trump has never stopped campaigning, at least in an official sense. Shortly after his inauguration in January, Trump filled out paperwork so he could continue raising money for his 2020 re-election bid and has continued doing campaign-style rallies during his few first months occupying the White House.
- Soon, we’ll know just how much he spent: While the payments Trump has made for his legal defense are currently unknown, we could know soon. Reuters reports the amount he has spent from RNC and re-election funds should be disclosed in public filings.
- But Trump’s team doesn’t think anyone should know: Despite the necessity for public disclosure, Trump lawyer John Dowd declined to tell Reuters how much has been spent on legal fees. “That’s none of your business,” he said.
- Some context: The investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, possible Trump campaign connections to Russia, and whether the president obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey continues to grow at the direction of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. As such, the legal fees the president is incurring to defend himself grows with it.
You can read all of Reuters’ report here.