More than 20% of Trump re-election campaign spending going to legal fees

About $840,000 in payments for

Trump's reelection campaign spent over $834, 000 on legal consulting fees in the first quarter of 2018, the three month period from January 1 to March 31, according to records from the federal election commission disclosed Sunday afternoon.

The biggest share of legal payments in the first quarter of this year - about $348,000 - went to Jones Day, a law firm representing the campaign in the investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and several congressional committees into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Two others firms - Harding LLP and Larocca, Hornik, Rosen, Greenberg & Blaha, which are involved in the legal fight with Daniels - were paid a combined $280,000. But legal fees weren't the only big expense: About $650,000 went toward campaign gear such as hats and mugs. The president and Cohen have filed their own suit against her, threatening to seek millions in damages. It's not clear whether Trump is actually paying his lawyers, considering the campaign's high legal spending.

Gov. Pete Ricketts' re-election campaign has raised almost $2.3 million over the course of the 2018 election cycle and had almost $1.7 million in cash on hand April 1. All told, the $20.2 million raised by the three committees is up significantly from the $12.5 million raised in the previous quarter.

Trump has opted - unlike presidents before him - to begin actively fundraising in the early part of his first term.

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He continues to energize small-dollar donors, FEC filings show.

Responding to the Ricketts campaign filing, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Krist said he has been "focused on performing my elected duties in the Nebraska Legislature" and has been delayed in mounting a concerted fundraising campaign.

NAIJ.com previously reported that barely after completing one year in the White House, President Trump started preparing for 2020 re-election, selecting Brad Parscale as the campaign manager.

Johnny McEntee, Trump's former personal assistant who was forced out when he couldn't be get security clearance, was hired by the campaign in March.

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