Democratic donors paid $1.7m in Biden legal fees

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Democratic donors paid at least $1.7m (£1.35m) of US President Joe Biden’s legal fees during the investigation into his handling of classified documents, records show.

The Democratic National Committee paid a firm and a lawyer for the president.

Mr Biden has repeatedly criticised former President Donald Trump, his likely election challenger, for using donor funds to pay his legal fees.

On Friday, Republicans were quick to accuse the president of hypocrisy.

“If these corrupt Democrats didn’t have HYPOCRISY, they’d have NOTHING!” the Republican National Committee said in a statement,

Alex Floyd, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement that there was “no comparison” between the DNC’s payments to the president’s lawyers and Mr Trump’s efforts to drive up donations for his legal cases.

“The DNC does not spend a single penny of grassroots donors’ money on legal bills, unlike Donald Trump,” he said.

The money for Mr Biden’s legal team came from the Democratic National Committee’s legal account, according to the Associated Press. It said that account is primarily funded by major donors who have already met contribution limits.

First reported by Axios, the funds were paid to lawyers or firms representing Mr Biden during the special counsel investigation into his handling and retention of classified documents.

That investigation began in January 2023 and concluded earlier this year. The final report found Mr Biden “wilfully” retained troves of files but the special counsel did not charge him with a crime.

Following the probe, the Democratic National Committee – which has been fundraising large sums to aid Mr Biden’s re-election campaign – directed roughly $1.7m to lawyers representing Mr Biden, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Roughly $1m was paid to Bob Bauer, Mr Biden’s private lawyer. The rest of the money went to a Boston law firm that employed a lawyer who was identified as Mr Biden’s counsel in the classified documents investigation.

The committee using its funds to pay the party leader’s legal fees is not necessarily a new practice. The amount spent by the committee and its donors is similar to what it spent to cover legal fees for President Barack Obama during his first term, according to The New York Times.

While the Democratic National Committee used $1.7m to pay Mr Biden’s fees, newspaper reports that Mr Trump has spent more than $100m in donor funds to address the costs he has accrued from his various court cases.

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