Trump, corruption, and other people’s money: this is perfectly legal!
If you’re surprised that the Trumps are raising “campaign” cash and funneling it to their criminal defense — something that is generally perfectly legal in the United States of K Street — then you afe OK with corruption.
Trump’s campaign spent more than $1 million in legal bills over the past three months, including more than $200,000 toward lawyers representing Donald Trump Jr., according to campaign spending records filed to the Federal Election Commission and made public Sunday.
The spending adds up fast: The campaign gave $802,185 to the law firm Jones Day, longtime lawyers for the Trump campaign and one of the nation’s top paid legal offices. The $1 million in legal fees represents a sizable chunk of the total $4 million in spending the campaign reported.
In all, the latest expenses means the president’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have so far spent more than $2 million on legal representation for the first family in the Russian probes being carried out by congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller. Under federal law, the president’s campaign can pay for his legal fees if the costs relate directly to the investigation.
It’s not like they can’t pay for it themselves. Yet that’s the Trump Way: pay with other people’s money.
The New York Times adds a little perspective:
[The] sharp increase [in legal payments] coincided with the escalation of investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The spending was revealed in reports filed on Sunday with the Federal Election Commission detailing the campaign’s finances from the beginning of July through the end of last month.
During that period, legal fees represented more than 25 percent of all spending by Mr. Trump’s campaign. The legal spending was nearly twice as much as the campaign spent during the preceding three months.
The report underscores the degree to which Mr. Trump’s team has been consumed by investigations being pursued by congressional committees and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian meddling in the presidential election, and connections between Russia, Mr. Trump and his associates.
The legal spending revealed on Sunday brings to $2.1 million the legal fees paid by the campaign and its two joint committees this year.
The spending not consumed by legal expenses was more reflective of Mr. Trump’s campaign-style political operation, which did not pause after his election, unlike most presidential campaigns’ operations, which are dialed back or rolled into party committees. Mr. Trump still holds rallies around the country, and the costs included facility rentals, as well as travel and the red Make America Great Again hats sold on Mr. Trump’s campaign website.
Trump’s campaign and the RNC are on track to spend well over $3 million on criminal defense by year’s end.