• Only three of President Trump's attorneys are members of the White House counsel's office
  • The legal bills likely will run into the millions
  • The RNC says it has picked up 600,00 new donors since the impeachment inquiry picked up steam

The Republican National Committee is footing the bill for President Trump’s impeachment defense unlike the last presidential prosecution, campaign finance reports show.

The RNC is picking up the tab for lead attorney Jay Sekulow and Jane Raskin, who also defended Trump during the Mueller investigation. The campaign finance reports show they received $225,000 from the RNC, the Washington Post reported. Sources told the newspaper the RNC likely would continue paying for their services into at least February.

“I’m the president’s retained counsel,” Sekulow told reporters during a break in the trial last week. “So, I don’t discuss my legal fees, but we’re paid for our legal skills.”

As far back as 2017, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign committee was picking up legal bills for Trump and his family despite the president’s wealth.

"It's legal for the campaign to pay any legal expenses arising out of the campaign," Larry Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group, told NPR.

By mid-2018, Trump’s campaign ponied up $2.1 million in legal fees for the three-month period ending Sept. 30 – 88% more than the preceding quarter.

Other nongovernment lawyers on Trump’s legal team are former Clinton special counsel Kenneth Starr, Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz, Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as special counsel, and attorneys Eric Herschmann and Marc Kasowitz. Dershowitz has said he would not accept payment for his work.

White House attorneys Pat Cipollone, Patrick Philbin and Michael Purpura are collecting their government salaries, which range from $168,000 to $183,000. Lobbyist Pam Bondi, who served as Florida’s attorney general, was hired by the White House late last year.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton said she and her husband were “not only dead broke, but in debt” following Bill Clinton’s impeachment because the legal fund they set up failed to raise enough money to cover his legal bills, which eventually exceeded $10 million. The legal fund raised just $4.5 million, and the couple paid off the debt after leaving office with funds earned through speaking fees and books.

“We are more than happy to cover some of the costs of defending the president from this partisan impeachment sham,” RNC spokesman Mike Reed told the Post. Reed said the impeachment process has been a boon to fundraising, inspiring 600,000 new donors to open their wallets since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formal inquiry in September.

“The Democrat impeachment charade is the gift that keeps on giving for our side,” Reed said.

The national parties are allowed to collect large donations in separate accounts to finance specific projects. Campaign filings indicate the RNC transferred about $2.7 million into its legal account between September and November when the impeachment process began accelerating.

Impeachment is not the only Trump legal matter RNC donors have covered. They also helped pay for legal fees incurred as a result of the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as suits filed over release of Trump’s tax returns.