President Donald Trumps re-election 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.
Trumps 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 presidents 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 didnt specify what the legal expenses were for.
Futerfas declined to comment. The Trump campaign and the White House didnt immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trumps 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 campaigns 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 Futerfass law firm in June. That came before news surfaced about the 2016 meeting, which also involved Trumps 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 September 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, Trumps 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. Its 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 isnt 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.
Former President Barack Obama had been in office more than two years before he headlined his first re-election fundraiser. Former President George W. Bush raised a total of $268,423 in his first two years in office, according to FEC records.