A new report in the New York Times reveals that Donald J. Trump’s 2020 campaign committee appropriated $50,000 out of its coffers to pay for a defense lawyer for Donnie Jr. The recently filed campaign disclosure forms show that the payment was made to criminal defense attorney Alan S. Futerfas as a retainer but more importantly, was the date it was paid out – ELEVEN days before President Trump claimed he found out about the infamous meeting his son arranged to meet with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer now known to have direct ties to the Kremlin.
This new revelation is significant not only for the timing, which would seem to indicate that Donald Sr. was lying about what he knew and when he knew it, but also for the fact that the billionaire family used campaign funds to pay for their personal interests.
The disclosure forms clearly show that the $50,000 payment was made on June 27, 2017. On July 12, the President told reporters on Air Force One that he wasn’t aware of the meeting with Veselnitskaya until very recently.
“I only heard about it two or three days ago,” said Trump.
Adding further doubt to this claim, a story in Yahoo News this week alleges that Donald J. Trump’s lawyers knew about the e-mail chain between Donnie and go-between Rob Goldstone for weeks. The Yahoo report states that Trump attorneys Marc Kasowitz and Alan Garten first learned about the exchange the third week of June – the payment from the re-election committee was made the following week.
For now, these are all facts – more smoke. It is possible that the payment could have been made to Futerfas for matters pertaining to the presidential campaign, which would be legal according to Lawrence Noble, who served as general counsel of the Federal Elections Commission and currently serves as general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center. Still, in light of the recent revelations surrounding Donnie Jr.’s attempt to collude with Russian operatives for the purpose of gaining damaging information on Hillary Clinton, it all seems dubious to say the least.
It would seem certain that special counsel Robert Mueller will be looking hard at this new piece of the puzzle to see just exactly how it fits into the broader picture.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Trump supporters react when they find out that their billionaire hero used their contributions to pay for his son’s lawyer. Will it shake their devotion or will they just see it as more FAKE NEWS?