But the mere fact that Harder’s legal fees were paid by Trump’s presidential campaign, and not by Trump himself, signals that the Trump campaign is open to spending donors’ money to fight what some might see as the president’s own personal legal battles.
Trump is not up for re-election until November 2020, at which point nearly three years will have elapsed since “Fire and Fury” was published. Still, Trump’s campaign appears poised to spend, and to raise, money as if the election were around the corner.
Sunday’s filing also revealed that the Trump campaign raised $10 million during the first quarter of the year and spent about $3.9 million. Approximately 20 percent of that amount was spent on legal expenses — including the $93,000 to Harder’s law firm. In total, the Trump re-election campaign reported paying eight separate law firms for work between January and March of this year.
Harder’s firm — along with law firm Larocca, Hornik, Rosen, Greenberg & Blaha — has been part of Trump’s legal battle with Daniels, but sources close to the campaign say the payments made during the first quarter were not connected to that fight. The Trump campaign paid $186,000 to Larocca, Hornik, Rosen, Greenberg & Blaha in the first three months of the year.
The campaign also shelled out $376,000 to the firm Jones Day, which is representing the campaign on election law and campaign finance compliance, as well as matters related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The latest legal expense reports come as one of the president’s other lawyers, Michael Cohen, is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after he paid a $130,000 settlement to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Following Sunday’s filing, the Trump campaign touted the high percentage of small-dollar donors who contributed during the first part of the year.
“With 97.7 percent of our contributions from small donors, patriotic Americans throughout America are signaling their emphatic approval of Donald Trump’s performance as President and his commitment to continue to Make America Great Again despite the obstruction of the President’s many opponents,” Michael Glassner, chief operating officer for the Trump campaign, said in a press release.