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Trump raises $200m for post-election legal battles

Fri, December 4, 2020, 11:27 PM GMT+6

President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee say they have raised $207.5m (£154m) since the US election last month.

Since October — including the weeks running up to the vote — Trump committees have raised a total of nearly half a billion dollars.

The money is funding legal challenges to Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

Mr Trump has refused to concede and alleges without evidence that Mr Biden’s win was the result of fraud.

Over the same period, Mr Biden’s campaign has raised $112m, according to a filing with the Federal Elections Commission.

Mr Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said the fundraising “positions President Trump to continue leading the fight to clean up our corrupt elections process in so many areas around the country”.

The post-election fundraising drive saw emails sent to supporters asking them to contribute to an “Official Election Defense Fund” to “protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day”.

However the small print showed that most of the money would be spent on other priorities.

Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his defeat in the 2020 presidential election have become increasingly futile, as courts strike down his legal challenges and states certify their results. They’ve also been quite lucrative, however.

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The president and the Republican party have now raised more than $207m since election day, and while the money was solicited to support the finance balloting challenges, the bulk of the contributions will go to the president’s personal political committee and party coffers.

That will be a boon to the Republican National Committee, as it seeks to retire any debt incurred over the campaign. It also allows the president to wield considerable power even after he leaves the White House next month.

With tens of millions of dollars in his political fund, Donald Trump can back favoured candidates in upcoming campaigns, finance his own rallies and travel, and also staff and support a preliminary campaign apparatus in case he’s serious about running again in 2024.

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