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Trump reelection campaign paid his son's Russia-probe law firm $238,000

By BILL ALLISON
Bloomberg

October 15. 2017 8:25PM
President Donald Trump addresses the 2017 Values Voter Summit in Washington on Friday. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

President Donald Trump’s reelection committee paid almost $238,000 in the third quarter to the law firm representing Donald Trump Jr. in connection with ongoing investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according campaign finance disclosures.

Trump’s campaign made two payments — one in mid July, the other in early August — to the law firm of Alan S. Futerfas, a lawyer for the President’s son, who is facing scrutiny over a 2016 meeting he had with a Russian lawyer while seeking damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton. The third-quarter disclosures with the Federal Election Commission didn’t specify what the legal expenses were for.

Futerfas declined to comment. The Trump campaign and the White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump’s campaign paid $1.1 million for legal services from July to September, up from $677,827 in the second quarter and $249,344 in the first, according to the disclosures. The bulk went to Jones Day, the campaign’s law firm, and $25,885 was paid to the Trump Corporation, now run by Trump Jr. and his brother, Eric.

The campaign previously disclosed a $50,000 payment to Futerfas’s law firm in June. That came before news surfaced about the 2016 meeting, which also involved Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump Jr. had a closed-door interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee about the matter on Sept. 7.

The Republican National Committee disclosed last month payments to two attorneys, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, who are representing the President. Under federal election law, the RNC can raise money from donors in amounts up to $101,700 for a special account earmarked for paying legal expenses, including costs tied to recount fights, investigations and other matters.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees, including the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, are examining the impact Russia had on the election, and whether Trump campaign officials colluded with them.

Overall, Trump’s campaign and two joint fundraising committees that split receipts with the campaign and Republican party committees raised $11.7 million in the third quarter, according to FEC disclosures. It’s unusual for a sitting President to raise money for re-election as aggressively as Trump has during the first year in office.

Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee that courts big donors, disclosed nine contributors who gave more than $50,000 — including billionaire Ronald Perelman, Madison Square Garden Company Chief Executive Officer James Dolan, and real estate developers Richard and James LeFrak — after Sept. 20, when the party said it was using money from the legal account to pay law firms involved in the Russian investigation. It isn’t yet clear whether those donations went to the legal fund or other party accounts.

During the third quarter, Trump received $4.2 million from small-dollar donors — those who contribute $200 or less, the FEC reports showed. He also saw a surge of big-money support, fueled by donors writing larger checks to join the President at a closed-door event Sept. 26 at Le Cirque restaurant in New York.

Trump Victory took in $5.3 million, most of which came from donors giving $35,000 or more, the FEC reports showed.

At the committee fundraiser in New York headlined by Trump, a couple could get access to a private round table with the President for $250,000. A $100,000 donation guaranteed “VIP access” to Trump. The event raised $5 million, according to the official.


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