President Donald Trump's campaign has spent nearly $ 100,000 on donor money to pay legal bills to the firm representing Jared Kushner, as shown by the latest campaign funding records.
The president's re-election campaign made two payments to Winston & Strawn LLP – $ 55,330 and $ 42,574. Expenses consisted of payments to Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, for Kushner's attorney's fees, sources familiar with payments to ABC News. Lowell joined the firm in May 2018.
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"Modest" contributions – $ 200 or less – accounted for 98.5% of the total funds raised by the Trump campaign in the last quarter of 2018, a consistent trend throughout the year, according to a press release published during the campaign. campaign financing deposits.
Kushner, who is married to Ivanka, Trump's eldest daughter, is an heir to real estate who has earned more than $ 1.7 million in income in 2015, the year before he arrived in the his wife's family at the White House, according to an article in the New York Times confidential financial documents published in October. Its net worth has been estimated at over $ 300 million.
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Like many Trump campaign insiders, Kushner needed legal advice because he tried to navigate the Special Council and Congress investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 elections. Kushner was not charged with any criminal act.
PHOTO: President Donald J. Trump's chief adviser Jared Kushner is waiting for his president to deliver a speech at the White House Rose Garden in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2019. (Michael Reynolds / EPA via Shutterstock)
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A spokesman for the Trump campaign declined to comment on the decision to allocate campaign money to the legal costs borne by the president's son-in-law.
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Lowell, said the payments only covered legal costs incurred for litigation involving Kushner's work during the campaign.
"This legal work was done on behalf of the Trump campaign to help them defend themselves against a baseless and political case brought by the DNC," Mirijanian said in a statement. "All campaigns and businesses cover the legal costs of the people who work for them when they are sued. Mr. Kushner has personally paid all his legal fees to date. "
A source familiar with the repayments told ABC News that by the end of 2018, the campaign covered the legal fees of several former senior executives who had testified before congressional committees. The House Intelligence Committee had given each person who testified the opportunity to have a lawyer review a transcript of their testimony as part of a plan to see the transcripts made public.
The most prominent members of the campaign incurred legal costs in a civil suit brought by the Democratic National Committee. It is unclear whether the campaign also reimbursed these expenses to its officials.
In April, the DNC brought a civil action against a long list of defendants, including Kushner, to be part of a conspiracy involving Russia 's efforts to interfere in it. 2016 presidential election.
In December, Lowell filed a 22-page motion asking a judge to remove Kushner from the lawsuit. In this paper, Lowell disputed the allegation that Kushner allegedly participated in a conspiracy against Democrats in 2016, claiming that the lawsuit filed by the DNC "does not contain any factual allegation involving Kushner in the allegedly charged act." ".
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There is no decision on the motion yet.
Kushner also spent more than nine hours in total during two interviews with Mueller's team. The first meeting, which took place at the end of 2017, focused on Michael Flynn, Trump 's former national security advisor, and the second, in April 2018, was held in April. is focused on the campaign, the transition and other topics, including shooting circumstances. former FBI director James Comey, as previously reported by ABC News. "I would say that's the definition of cooperation," Lowell told CNN last year.
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Kushner is not the only one to receive financial assistance from the campaign fund.
Since 2017, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are sponsoring a number of associates, past and present, involved in the investigation of the special adviser on the interference of Russia during the war. 2016 presidential election.
This includes more than $ 276,000 from the Trump campaign spent between October 2017 and April 2018 to cover some of the legal bills of personal attorney President Michael Cohen, who was in a joint defense agreement with Trump.
PHOTO: Hope Hicks, Director of Communications at the White House, one of President Trump's closest aides and advisers, meets behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee at the Capitol in Washington, DC February 27, 2018. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP, FILE)
The Republican National Committee also donated nearly $ 590,000 to a company representing Trump's former director of communications, Hope Hicks, who appeared before the House Intelligence Committee last February for an in camera interview. concerning the interference of Russia. According to Republicans and Democrats on the panel, Hicks refused to answer questions about his stay at the White House. The Trump campaign and the RNC also paid companies representing Donald Trump, Jr. over $ 514,000.
More recently, the Trump campaign has donated more than $ 173,000 to Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, a law firm representing former Trump campaign director Corey Lewandowski, and more than $ 101,000 in Larocca, Hornik, Greenberg and Blaha. company that represents Trump's security team. The campaign also dramatically increased its payout to Trump's attorney firm, Mark Kasowitz, according to the latest campaign finance report.
The Trump campaign has spent more than $ 6.7 million in legal fees over the past two years.
In recent months, a Trump campaign-related legal defense fund has also helped investigators involved in Russia's investigation, with generous checks from major donors such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson Recycling and Anthony Lomangino, a member of A-Lago, and Geoffrey Palmer, real estate developer in Beverly Hills, according to disclosure reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
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The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust announced several payments entitled "Legal Consultations" to companies related to Trump campaign aids, including the companies Mintz Levin and Lewertowski and Schertler & Onorato, which represented Trump's former bodyguard , Keith Schiller.
The identities of the people supported by the fund are still unclear, the disclosure mentioning only listed law firms paid by the fund, not the clients. The fund's guidelines state that it is forbidden for Trump and his family members to obtain help from the Patriot Fund.