Christie slams ‘billionaire’ Trump for using campaign donations to cover his legal fees

‘Most of the money that middle-class Americans have given to him, he’s spent on his own legal fees’, Chris Christie says of Donald Trump

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 01 August 2023 19:32 BST
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Chris Christie slams Trump for using campaign money to cover his legal fees

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has railed against former president Donald Trump for using donations to his political campaign to pay his extensive legal bills.

“Most of the money that middle-class Americans have given to him, he’s spent on his own legal fees,” Mr Christie told CNBC’s Squawk Box.

As Mr Trump’s fiercest critic in the field of Republican presidential candidates, Mr Christie suggested that the supposed billionaire could instead simply sell Trump Tower or one of his planes or golf courses to cover legal costs in the myriad cases he faces as he tries to win back the White House.

“But instead he’s taking $25, $50, $100 from everyday Americans who believe they’re giving it to him to help elect him president. And he’s paying his legal fees,” Mr Christie said.

The former governor and one-time Trump ally also said: “Let’s face the facts here. Donald Trump, by the time we get to the debate in three weeks, will probably be out on bail.”

“I don’t understand how we can’t be talking about that,” Mr Christie said before also calling out other Republican candidates — specifically former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley — for not taking on the former president more forcefully.

In addition to the spending on legal fees, Mr Christie also noted that Trump’s PAC, Save America, reported spending $108,000 on Melania Trump’s stylist, fashion designer Hervé Pierre, describing the expenses as “strategy consulting”.

Mr Trump’s legal fees are skyrocketing, and have already surpassed $40m as he awaits potential indictment on a host of charges related to the January 6 attack and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The Washington Post reported the staggering total cost of the president’s legal expenditures on Saturday, citing numerous sources within Trumpworld. The mounting costs are only likely to grow more burdensome after Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith hands down an expected indictment in the coming days charging Mr Trump for crimes allegedly committed while he served as president.

And then there’s Georgia: the former president and members of his legal team are expected to face potential charges as a result of Fulton County prosecutors’ investigation into their efforts to change the election results in that state too. A decision on that matter is expected later this month.

Mr Trump’s Save America PAC, his primary vessel for outside spending, is expected to verify this total in a campaign finance filing on Monday, according to the Post.

The Trump campaign has been reported in recent months to have begun funnelling a greater share of donations directly to the PAC as his legal expenses mount.

Complicating the issue: Mr Trump is apparently paying legal fees for a number of those within his inner circle who have been drawn into the investigation — which itself has become an issue that prosecutors are examining.

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