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Trump Campaign’s “SAVE AMERICA” Emails Are Raising Funds for Trump’s Legal Fees

Trump is raking in cash from MAGA fans with increasingly paranoid fundraising emails as his indictments pile up.

Donald Trump’s campaign for reelection doesn’t just provide the former president with potential pathways for dodging legal jeopardy and seeking revenge on opponents if he were to retake the White House. The campaign also sends out flurries of disinformation-packed fundraising emails to supporters that are becoming increasingly paranoid with each indictment handed down by prosecutors. This scheme is raking in millions of dollars from MAGA fans that are then used to pay legal bills for Trump and various aides and advisers who also are under investigation or facing criminal charges alongside the former president.

Multiple outlets are reporting that Save America, the leadership PAC fundraising with the Trump campaign, covered $40 million in costs stemming from Trump’s various legal troubles during the first half of 2023 alone, more than the campaign raised during the entire second quarter of this year.

The Save America PAC operates a joint fundraising committee with the Trump reelection campaign and has reportedly spent approximately $56 million on legal bills since Trump left office in 2020. However, additional reporting suggests that number could be even higher.

The Washington Post first reported on the most recent legal expenditures, which are expected to be detailed in a federal filing this week. Save America primarily raises money from small donors across the country, often through fundraising emails that rile up voters. By milking the MAGA backlash toward the dozens of criminal charges filed against Trump, the emails raise money to cover both Trump’s campaign costs and his legal survival.

These days, his supporters’ money may be worth more to Trump than ever before. The former president currently faces dozens of felony charges in two criminal trials, and with dual investigations into his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss wrapping up, Trump may well be indicted in an unprecedented four criminal cases before the summer’s end.

Besides a civil case where a jury recently found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s, Trump faces 34 felony counts in a New York state court for allegedly falsifying business records to conceal money payments to actress and director Stormy Daniels.

Trump also faces a list of felony charges at a federal court in Florida, where prosecutors allege the former president hoarded and mishandled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort and obstructed the government’s efforts to retrieve them. Special Counsel Jack Smith and prosecutors in Georgia are also investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and have dropped enough hints that observers expect more pending indictments against Trump.

Last week, Smith charged Trump with additional crimes in the classified documents case in a new filing, alleging that Trump and two of his employees conspired to delete security camera footage from Mar-a-Lago that was sought by investigators.

Carlos De Oliveira, a property manager at Mar-a-Lago, and Trump aide Walt Nauta are accused of joining Trump in seeking to destroy the security footage and also face criminal charges, likely adding two more names to the list of people with legal expenses covered by Trump’s joint fundraising outfit.

A Trump spokesman told The Washington Post that Save America PAC is paying legal fees for Trump employees “to protect these innocent people from financial ruin and prevent their lives from being completely destroyed by unlawful harassment.”

However, De Oliveira was unable to enter a plea on Monday, as he didn’t secure a local attorney before appearing in court — a sign that Trump’s employees may share in his struggle to find and retain qualified legal counsel. His personal attorney told the judge that De Oliveira is still looking for a local attorney who can represent him in Florida.

The superseding indictment filed in Florida also includes new felony charges against Trump for allegedly possessing a highly classified document that the former president described as a “plan of attack” while showing it off to people without security clearances. The document is believed to be secret military plans for attacking Iran that Trump is on record boasting about during a 2021 meeting at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges in both criminal cases in Florida and New York.

With each development in Trump’s legal jams, the campaign’s fundraising emails become more paranoid, spinning lurid and evidence-free tales that dabble in popular right-wing conspiracy theories. According to the emails, Trump — and by extension, the legions of small donors paying his legal bills — is under attack by a “deep state” conspiracy made up of… you guessed it, “communists” and “RINOs,” a popular slur on the right for Republicans who dare make any attempt at political compromise. (President Joe Biden, who has made it clear that he is not involved in any prosecution of Trump, is supposedly acting like a “communist dictator.”)

The Trump campaign and Save America responded to the latest charges in the classified documents case by blasting an email laden with disinformation to supporters over the weekend. The email was signed by Trump and discusses the “same witch hunt known as the Documents Hoax,” often deploying words in all caps, which is universally understood to represent yelling online.

The “Deep State” is not just trying to jail an “innocent man,” the email claims; it’s trying to jail Trump for the “equivalent of five lifetimes,” which is a gross exaggeration of the facts. That way, the “Biden-appointed special counsel” and the “Deep State” can prevent Trump supporters from choosing their preferred candidate, and “America” will be ruled by “puppet candidates” for “CENTURIES” (emphasis is Trump’s).

Of course, Special Counsel Jack Smith was not appointed by President Joe Biden. He was appointed by the Justice Department to prevent any perception of partisan influence over the Trump investigations and indictments. While Trump could technically face decades in jail for his alleged crimes, judges take a broad array of considerations when handing down sentences, and the idea floating around right-wing circles that Trump could be sentenced to hundreds of years in prison has been debunked.

Politicians in both parties routinely send out sensational and even misleading fundraising emails to supporters, but the Trump campaign’s emails stand out for their sheer anger and nods toward baseless conspiracy theories. Lately, emails signed by Trump warn supporters that “globalists” and “Marxists” in government are coming for them next. Capitalized words that indicate shouting are a primary feature of Trump’s fundraising emails, possibly to capture the feel and cadence of right-wing talk radio or online rage bait.

“But even for an energetic guy like me, the outrageous threat of 400 YEARS in prison isn’t just meant to keep me off the ballot — it’s meant to INTIMIDATE YOU… to send you a message that if you stand up to the Left’s Marxist agenda, then YOU too could be made an example of,” reads one recent fundraising email signed by Trump.

Such strategies have worked for Trump in the past. Even after losing the 2020 election, the Trump campaign posted record fundraising hauls fueled by mass emails that exploited Trump’s lies about a stolen election and indulged in conspiracy theories and fascist rhetoric. Trump’s joint fundraising committee raised nearly $152 million over a two-year period after Trump left the White House, according to federal records.

Similar appeals to supporters are expected as Trump’s legal travails unfold in court. It remains to be seen whether the grievance, fearmongering and Trump-world drama will eventually exhaust small donors in the Republican base or continue to be a major money-maker for Trump’s push to win back the White House — and stay out of jail.

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