- Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone issued a new plea for help paying his legal bills resulting from the Russia investigation, which he claims now exceed $US450,000.
Many of the president’s former advisers are facing sky-high legal fees as a result of the probe, which is focused on Moscow’s election interference and whether any of his associates colluded with Russia.
- A new talking point, meanwhile, has emerged among those opposed to Mueller’s probe: that he is trying to stage a “coup d’etat” against Trump.
Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone blasted out a 1,600-word statement this week asking for help paying the nearly $US460,000 worth of legal fees he has incurred since landing in the crosshairs of the federal and congressional Russia investigations.
In the emailed statement, Stone attacked special counsel Robert Mueller as a “deep state vigilante” and “deep state executioner” who “is busy casting about for anything he can latch onto.”
Stone, whose contact with Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the election have come under scrutiny has part of the Russia probes, said it cost him $US400,000 in legal fees to prepare for his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last month.
Stone is also a “person of interest” for Senate investigators, committee chairman Richard Burr said in September. But they have not yet sent Stone a formal invitation to testify.
Many of the president’s former advisers are facing sky-high legal fees as a result of the investigation, which is focused on whether his campaign colluded with Moscow to undermine Hillary Clinton during the election.
Trump campaign national-security official JD Gordon told Business Insider that while Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee are “taking care” of the president and his son, Don Jr., and Don Jr “the rest of us who aren’t billionaires must fend for ourselves.”
FEC filings showed that the Trump campaign spent more than $US1.1 million on legal fees between July-October of this year.
“In my case, representing the campaign to speak to a group of over 50 foreign ambassadors during the RNC in Cleveland, combined with ensuring our campaign’s national security policies were reflected in the GOP platform the week prior, have led to nearly 5-figure personal legal bills,” Gordon said.
Congressional investigators probing potential collusion between the campaign and Russia have questioned Gordon about why he agitated for an amendment to the GOP’s draft policy on Ukraine to be watered down last July.
The original amendment, which proposed that the GOP commit to sending “lethal weapons” to the Ukrainian army to fend off Russian aggression, was ultimately softened to say “provide appropriate assistance” before it was included in the party’s official platform.
“It sure would be nice if the re-election campaign could reimburse these costs since all of my actions were in accordance with official campaign duties,” Gordon said. “Though on the positive side, I have transitioned to a pro bono effort for holding individuals accountable for federal crimes such as cyberstalking, on-line harrassment and defamation.”
Michael Glassner, who has been leading the Trump campaign’s reelection efforts, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Another early Trump campaign adviser, Michael Caputo, told reporters recently that he had to take $US30,000 out of his children’s college fund to pay for lawyers that can charge as much as $US1,000 per hour. Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier mentioned Caputo’s past work in Russia and his Ukrainian wife while questioning former FBI Director James Comey about the Russia probe in March.
The family of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, meanwhile, set up a defence fund for the retired general in September to pay for legal fees that could top $US1 million. Mueller has reportedly gathered enough evidence against Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., to bring charges against them related to their work lobbying on behalf of Turkish government interests during the campaign.
“I am not a wealthy man, by any means,” Stone said in his emailed appeal. “Such a crushing expense, with nothing to show for it except my vindication against a juggernaut of political dirty tricks and lies, threatens to destroy me and my family financially- all because I fought to elect Donald Trump. All because the deep state partisans know I will continue fighting for his agenda.”
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is chummy with Stone, introduced legislation last week pressuring Mueller to resign. Speaking from the House floor on Tuesday night, Gaetz claimed that “we are in the midst of a coup d’etat in the United States.”
Stone seemed to echo Gaetz in his email: “I am certain Special Counsel Mueller and his chummy side-kick, fired-FBI Director Jimmy Comey, intend to try to remove our President, in collusion with Democrats, many of whom are openly plotting a literal coup d’etat against the President of the United States.”