Trump Pledges $430K for Associates' Legal Fees
Such a pledge could be a conflict of interest, though
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2017 11:10 AM CDT
   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – As the legal bills mount for members of Donald Trump's campaign team and White House staff, the president has pledged to pay for some of that cost personally, Axios reports. On Saturday a White House official said the president has promised to spend at least $430,000 to help pay the legal fees of associates and staffers caught up in the investigations into Russian meddling in last year's presidential election. That amount is roughly the same the Republican National Committee has spent on lawyers defending Trump's son Donald Jr., though the White House says the president's financial pledge will not go to reimburse the RNC. At this point, it is unclear how the money will be divvied out or which associates or staffers will be eligible to receive it. The White House official says, "We're working on appropriate legal and ethical approval."

Ethical approval could prove to be a thorny issue. Not long after news broke about the president's plan, the former Director of the US Office of Government Ethics Walter Schaub pointed out on Twitter that such a scenario could be a conflict of interest, the Washington Post reports. "A potential witness or target of an investigation (and boss of investigators) paying for legal fees of other potential witnesses or targets?" Schaub tweeted. The RNC reported last month that it has paid more than $231,000 to members of Trump's legal team, on top of the $430,000 it has spent on Trump Jr.'s defense.

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