Trump won’t use donations to pay for his legal bills anymore
Sheetal Sukhija - Sunday 19th November, 2017
The Republican National Committee confirmed it wasn’t paying Trump’s legal bills anymore
Trump’s defense lawyer said the President was paying for the legal costs on the Russia probe himself
The expenses cover personal lawyers representing Trump in Mueller’s probe in alleged collusion case
WASHINGTON, U.S. - U.S. President Donald Trump’s attorney have confirmed that the President is no longer using political donations to pay for his legal bills.
Trump defense lawyer John Dowd said that Trump has begun paying his own legal bills related to the Russia investigation and will no longer cover the costs using political donations to his re-election campaign or the Republican Party.
Dowd added that following payments by the Republican National Committee, the president began paying the bills and now wants to make the party "even."
The RNC too confirmed in a statement that it is no longer paying the bills.
The attorneys told reporters that these expenses cover personal lawyers representing Trump in special prosecutor Robert Mueller's probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in last year's election.
Both Russia and Trump have denied the alleged collusion and yet, since the start of his presidency, the various investigations have dogged the country’s administration.
So far, Mueller has secured an indictment of Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort and another aide, while a third former adviser has pleaded guilty.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has offered shifting accounts of his Russia contacts while he was a campaign adviser, including with Moscow's former ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, and his knowledge of contacts between the campaign and Russian intermediaries.
In a speech before a conservative lawyers' group this week, Sessions made light of the investigation.
He told the audience at the Federalist Society event, "Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? Before I get started here, any Russians? Anybody been to Russia? Got a cousin in Russia or something?"
And Special White House counsel Ty Cobb said the Trump administration was working with others to establish a legal fund for current and former staffers.
Dowd added that the White House counsel Don McGahn and campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg of Jones Day are working to structure that fund.
This fund, he said, would be subject to rules that prohibit staff from receiving gifts or pro bono legal service.
Dowd added, “The president is exempt from those rules. The geniuses are working on it. If it passes muster with the tax lawyers and accountants, then it has to pass muster with the Office of Government Ethics."
According to reports, during former President Bill Clinton's administration, private funds were raised to cover Clinton's legal expenses related to the Whitewater investigation.
During former President George W. Bush’s administration, a legal fund was set up to help former Bush staffer Lewis "Scooter" Libby, but only after he had left White House employment.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the RNC was paying Trump's legal bills, which a report in Reuters revealed amounted to more than $230,000 in August this year.
The payments were reportedly made to Trump's outside legal team, which includes Dowd.
This year, according to public disclosures, Trump’s re-election campaign paid more than $300,000 in bills to lawyers representing his son, Donald Trump Jr.
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