(The Hill) – Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Sunday told CNN the committee cannot pay former President Trump’s legal bills if he announces a bid for the White House in 2024.
The RNC’s executive committee last year confirmed it was paying for certain legal fees “that relate to politically motivated legal proceedings waged against President Trump,” and in recent months the committee has funded Trump’s defense against probes launched by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).
McDaniel told CNN’s Dana Bash that the committee “cannot pay legal bills for any candidate that’s announced” after Bash asked her if the RNC would stop paying Trump’s legal bills if he makes another run for the White House.
“We cannot pay legal bills for any candidate that’s announced. So these are bills that came from the Letitia James lawsuit that started while he was president,” McDaniel said. “It was voted on by our executive committee for our former president, that this was a politically motivated investigation and that’s what it’s been.”
“But we cannot do in kind contributions to any candidate right now. He’s the former president being attacked from every which way with lawsuits, and he’s certainly raised more under the RNC than we’ve spent on these bills,” she added.
Trump is reportedly considering announcing another run for president just after the midterm elections. The RNC has publicly maintained that it will remain neutral in the 2024 GOP nominating contest.
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The Trump Organization went to trial last week in a criminal tax fraud case being prosecuted by Vance’s office, which alleges the former president’s company skirted taxes and raked in perks for some of its top executives over 15 years.
Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty in August and agreed to testify as a star witness in the trial in exchange for a five-month sentence.
Trump also faces a civil lawsuit from James, who alleges Trump’s company falsely inflated and deflated the value of assets for tax and insurance benefits.
Trump family members and many Republicans have denounced the investigation as a “witch hunt,” noting James’s mentions of investigating Trump at campaign events.
Axios reported on Friday that Trump and his team are eyeing Nov. 14 as a possible launch day for his 2024 campaign, and Trump has publicly suggested he will make an announcement “very soon.”
When asked by Bash if Trump will announce soon, McDaniel said she didn’t know.
“I don’t even know what I’m doing for Thanksgiving right now, let alone thinking about 2024,” McDaniel said.