President Trump wasted no time raising money for his re-election campaign and The White House says that they ended the year with a whopping $22 million cash on hand for a 2020 bid.
During the final quarter of the year, Trump’s team spent roughly $2.8 million — $1.1 million of that sum paid for legal fees, per a Reuters report. During the final months, a firm behind Trump attorney Michael Cohen was paid $214,467 by the campaign — though that money may not have gone to Cohen. Cohen has been in the spotlight a lot lately after The Wall Street Journal reported that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about a 2006 affair with Trump.
The White House brought in a bulk of their donations from small donors — individuals who contributed less than $200. Lara Trump, who is married to Eric Trump and a top adviser in her father-in-law’s re-election campaign, said in a statement “Never before has a president’s campaign committee raised so much in his first year in office, and never has a president enjoyed so much support from small donors who continue to rally around him.”
By comparison, President Obama ended his first year with about $8 million on-hand. Most of that money was from his previous election campaign.
In November, the Trump campaign stopped paying the legal fees for Donald Trump Jr., Bloomberg reported. Trump Jr. has become a focal point of the Russia investigation because of a meeting he held with a Russian lawyer. Before the campaign cut the eldest Trump son off, they paid out $287,924 in legal fees for him.
The Republican National Committee has also paid some of the legal fees for Trump associates caught up in the Russia investigation. But the latest Federal Election Committee filings don’t show which fees relate to the Russia investigation and which are simply required for the typical White House counsel.
For Trump associates finding themselves in Mueller’s spotlight, the legal costs can quickly add up. An interview with the special counsel’s team could ring in at $30,000. And that sum is similar to the price tag for an appearance before a congressional committee.