BUYING SILENCE? Trump Offers To Personally Pay Legal Bills Of WH Staff Caught Up In Investigations
President Donald Trump is promising to personally pay the legal bills of White House staffers and associates caught up in the multiple investigations into his administration and his presidential campaign, according to a new report by Axios.
Citing a source close to the White House who spoke in confidentially, the publication revealed that the Republican National Committee is already using GOP campaign donations to pay the legal bills of Donald Trump Jr. and his father, with an estimated $430,000 already disbursed to lawyers defending the two Trumps.
“The White House official says Trump has pledged to spend the same amount, from his personal finances, ‘to defray the costs of legal fees for his associates, including former and current White House aides,’” the source said, Axios reporter Jonathan Swan wrote.
“The president and his legal team haven’t announced the mechanism to make these payments,” Swan notes. The arrangement raises a number of questions about the legality of Trump paying the legal fees of people who may be providing testimony against him and his administration —currently under investigation by the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller—, none of which the White House official answered.
“Is the plan to put this money into a general legal defense fund that all of the president’s associates could request access to, or will the money be disbursed directly to attorneys?” Swan asks, adding, “Who decides which of the president’s associates get the money and when they get it?” and
“What are the president’s intentions regarding future legal bills for the first family? Will the RNC keep paying them?”
“We’re working on appropriate legal and ethical approval, ” the White House source said. “There has been no discussion about how much Trump will be willing to spend,” he added.
Disgraced General and former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, will not accept contributions to his legal defense fund from President Trump or the Trump campaign. Nor will he accept funds from the RNC, a source close to Flynn told Swan, and that is making Trump uncomfortable.