Meet the billionaires who are paying Trump's legal bills - 2017-09-22
Self-proclaimed billionaire President Donald Trump is turning to rich Republican party donors to help cover the costs of some of his hefty legal fees related to investigations into his campaign's alleged ties to Russia. Government watchdog advocates say that move breaks political norms and escalates the power wealthy people have over politics. Effectively, the big donors can offset Trump's personal costs by donating to the legal fund, lining his pockets without directly handing over money.
Early in his campaign, Trump promised voters he would not accept outside money from anyone, including from the Republican National Committee, boasting that his personal wealth made him immune from political influence by individuals and the establishment. "I don't need anybody's money," he said in June 2015, kicking off his campaign. "I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists. I'm not using donors. I don't care. I'm really rich."
But by mid-July this year, he was reportedly hungry for RNC funds. People close to Trump were reportedly pestering the party to cover the increasingly hefty legal fees incurred as the investigations kept probing allegations of collusion with Russia. The RNC has since answered those calls, sending money from the political party's legal fund coffers — an account largely funded by billionaires such as investor Charles Schwab, Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus, Breitbart founder Robert Mercer, and Houston Texans owner Robert McNair, according to FEC filings.