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A fundraising vehicle for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign spent more than $40mn on legal costs in the first half of the year, campaign finance filings are expected to show on Monday, as the Republican 2024 frontrunner tackles mounting legal troubles.
News of the hefty legal bill comes as Trump’s team braces for more criminal charges against the former president, with fresh indictments possible as soon as this week. Trump is already facing criminal charges in two separate cases relating to his business dealings and handling of classified documents. He remains the subject of multiple investigations being carried out by the US Department of Justice, as well as local prosecutors in several US states.
The Washington Post first reported at the weekend that Save America, a political action committee supporting Trump’s 2024 bid for the White House, had spent just over $40mn on his legal fees, advisers and other individuals in the first half of the year. The spending is expected to be itemised in campaign finance filings that are due to be submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Monday.
Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesperson, blamed the DoJ for the legal expenditures.
“The weaponised Department of Justice has continued to go after innocent Americans because they worked for President Trump and they know they have no legitimate case,” Cheung said in a statement.
“In order to combat these heinous actions by Joe Biden’s cronies and to protect these innocent people from financial ruin and prevent their lives from being completely destroyed, the leadership PAC contributed to their legal fees to ensure they have representation against unlawful harassment.”
Last week, federal prosecutors in Florida added more criminal counts to the case relating to Trump’s handling of classified documents. The week before, Trump said he had received a “target letter” saying he was the subject of a criminal probe into his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
An indictment in that case is expected as soon as this week. At the same time, Trump is under investigation in the state of Georgia, where prosecutors are similarly probing his alleged attempts to interfere with the 2020 election.
Trump has used the legal problems as a rallying cry on the campaign trail.
“They’re not indicting me, they’re indicting you. I just happen to be standing in the way,” he told the crowd at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night, according to AP.
“Every time the radical left Democrats, Marxists, communists and fascists indict me, I consider it actually a great badge of honour . . . Because I’m being indicted for you.”
Despite Trump’s legal woes, he remains the undisputed frontrunner in a crowded field of Republicans vying for the party’s nomination for president in 2024. In fact, Trump’s poll numbers have improved in recent months, with his standing among the Republican grassroots rising each time he has been indicted.
The latest FiveThirtyEight average of national polls shows that just over half of Republicans favour Trump to be the party’s nominee, with Florida governor Ron DeSantis trailing in a distant second place, with the support of roughly 15 per cent.
The DeSantis campaign criticised Trump on Sunday, with the Florida governor’s spokesperson, Andrew Romeo, saying Trump had spent tens of millions of dollars on “falsely attacking Ron DeSantis and paying his own legal fees”.
“Governor DeSantis’s sole focus, by contrast, has been campaigning for this country’s future, defeating Biden, and reversing the decline of America,” Romeo added.