Donald Trump is tapping into money donated to his re-election campaign to pay the team of lawyers defending him in the ongoing investigations of collusion with Russia.
Many questioned why Donald Trump was using the backdrops of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey to promote the sale of campaign hats that would generate cash for his political campaign. This odd decision may be explained by the new revelation that Trump is using those funds to pay his legal bills in the ongoing Russia investigations.
Reuters reports that Trump has become the first president in the modern era of campaign finance law "to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe."
The money, donated to his re-election campaign and to the Republican National Committee, is being given by supporters who back his agenda, but this report exposes that party funds are being used to fend off the multiple investigations.
Trump has hired several lawyers for himself, as have his daughter, son-in-law, and senior administration figures. Mike Pence has also hired legal counsel, as evidence shows he is also knee-deep in the Russia scandal.
Likely included in the slush fund are donations Trump solicited at an event at his hotel in Washington, D.C. The Russia legal fund becomes just the most recent avenue that Trump has opened up, where Republican donors finance his personal life.
On one end, the money is going to his legal defense, while at the other end, campaign funds are also going to the hotel to rent space and purchase amenities. That money also finds its way into Trump's pockets, thanks to his refusal to abide by traditional ethical arrangements.
Trump's actions, both during the campaign and as president, are under probe by Congress, the FBI, and special counsel Robert Mueller. Investigators are trying to unravel the agreements, cover-up, and collusion involving the Trump presidential campaign and Russian elements, possibly including the official Russian government.
Multiple intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia's Vladimir Putin supported and financed an effort to hack into multiple systems — including the Democratic Party's private email — to uncover and release information that would help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. It is also a known fact that the Trump campaign communicated and met with Russian operatives who promised to exchange dirt on Clinton.
Part of the investigations of Trump's potentially criminal activity involve his firing of FBI Director James Comey, after Comey resisted Trump's efforts to pressure him to publicly distance Trump's name from the Russia investigation.
Figures like Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, are facing the threat of indictment after investigators have been looking into his connections to elements related to Putin.
The Russia investigation has tainted nearly every facet of Trump's unsuccessful presidential tenure. That he would use donor funds — instead of the billions he claims to personally — to extricate himself now seems like it was inevitable all along.