RNC covering more than $230,000 in Trump legal fees

Posted at 5:57 PM, Sep 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 17:57:46-04

The Republican National Committee spent more than $230,000 in August to cover some of President Donald Trump's legal fees associated with the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, an RNC official told CNN on Tuesday.

The RNC sent $131,250 to Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow, via the Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, and $100,000 to John Dowd, the attorney Trump hired in June, the official said.

The payments will be disclosed in the RNC's spending report for the month of August, which will be released on Wednesday.

Reuters first reported on Tuesday that the RNC was helping Trump with his legal payments associated with the special counsel's investigation. CNN first obtained the total amount of the RNC's spending on Trump's legal bills.

The President's legal bills were covered through the RNC's legal defense fund -- not its political coffers -- which the RNC official said was established in 2014 to cover legal fees associated with election-related litigation.

The RNC's payments to cover Trump's legal bills come despite the President's claims that his net worth is in excess of $10 billion.

The party official said the committee has not yet decided whether it will continue to make payments to cover the President's legal bills.

The RNC is just the latest Trump-supporting political group to get involved in making legal payments related to the Russia probe.

Last quarter, the Trump campaign spent more than $677,826 on legal fees. Though it's unclear what portion of those fees are going to attorney fees related to the Russia investigation, the campaign has employed attorneys to comply with Russia-related requests and has also made payments to the attorney representing the President's son Donald Trump Jr. in the Russia probe.

The Trump campaign spent nearly $700,000 in legal consulting fees -- or about 15.5% of the campaign's expenses between April 1 and June 30, according to the latest Federal Election Commission report.