Trump no longer dipping into RNC funds to pay legal bills for Russia probe: lawyers – National

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WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has begun paying his personal authorized payments associated to the Russia investigation and can now not cowl the prices utilizing political donations to his re-election marketing campaign or the Republican Occasion, his attorneys confirmed on Friday.

Trump protection lawyer John Dowd mentioned that following funds by the Republican Nationwide Committee, the president started paying the payments and now desires to make the get together “even.” The RNC confirmed it’s now not paying the payments.

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The bills cowl private legal professionals representing Trump in particular prosecutor Robert Mueller‘s probe of potential collusion between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia in final yr’s election. Moscow has denied meddling within the election, and Trump has denied any collusion.

The investigation has hounded Trump’s presidency. Mueller already has secured an indictment of Trump’s former marketing campaign chief and one other aide, whereas a 3rd former adviser pleaded responsible.

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Lawyer Common Jeff Periods has provided shifting accounts of his Russia contacts whereas he was a marketing campaign adviser, together with with Moscow’s former ambassador to the USA, Sergei Kislyak, and his information of contacts between the marketing campaign and Russian intermediaries.

However Periods made gentle of the investigation throughout a speech on Friday earlier than a conservative legal professionals’ group.

“Is Ambassador Kislyak within the room? Earlier than I get began right here, any Russians?” Periods mentioned, prompting applause and laughter from the gang on the Federalist Society occasion. “Anyone been to Russia? Obtained a cousin in Russia or one thing?”

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Particular White Home counsel Ty Cobb mentioned the administration was working with others to ascertain a authorized fund for present and former staffers. Dowd mentioned White Home counsel Don McGahn and marketing campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg of Jones Day are working to construction that fund, which might be topic to guidelines that prohibit workers from receiving items or professional bono authorized service.

The president is exempt from these guidelines, Dowd mentioned.

“The geniuses are engaged on it,” Dowd mentioned. “If it passes muster with the tax legal professionals and accountants, then it has to go muster with the Workplace of Authorities Ethics.”

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Throughout former President Invoice Clinton’s administration, non-public funds have been raised to cowl Clinton’s authorized bills associated to the Whitewater investigation. Beneath former President George W. Bush, a authorized fund was set as much as assist former Bush staffer Lewis “Scooter” Libby, however solely after he had left White Home employment.

In August, Reuters first reported that the RNC was paying Trump’s authorized payments, which amounted to greater than $230,000 that month. The funds have been made to Trump’s exterior authorized group, which incorporates Dowd.

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Moreover, Trump’s re-election marketing campaign paid greater than $300,000 this yr in payments to legal professionals representing his son, Donald Trump Jr., in response to public disclosures. The marketing campaign didn’t reply to a request for touch upon whether or not it can proceed to pay for Trump Jr’s authorized bills.

The Federal Election Fee permits use of personal marketing campaign funds to pay authorized payments arising from being a candidate or elected official.

Whereas earlier presidential campaigns have used these funds to pay for routine authorized issues comparable to poll entry disputes and compliance necessities, Trump is the primary president within the trendy marketing campaign finance period to make use of such funds on the prices of responding to a legal probe, mentioned election legislation specialists.

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