Trump stockpiles millions in donations as he faces a second impeachment trial
Posted January 31, 2021 10:31 p.m. EST
CNN — Donald Trump's new political committee took in more $30 million in the final weeks of 2020 as he made relentless and baseless claims of voter fraud, new filings show.
And Trump's Save America political action committee started this year with a substantial $31.1 million in cash reserves, as the former president faces a second impeachment trial in the US Senate and works to cement his standing as an enduring force in Republican politics.
Sunday's filings offer a snapshot of the continued financial backing from Trump's loyal supporter base. He formed Save America shortly after losing the election last November. Even as his legal team's claims of fraud were tossed out in courts around the country, Trump aggressively sought new donations, imploring his contributors to help fund his "election defense."
But the first and largest cut of contributions went to Save America, a major vehicle for his post-presidential political activity. He can use the leadership PAC to donate to other candidates, as well as fund travel and staffing. Federal rules set few restrictions on leadership PAC spending, which campaign watchdogs warn can become slush funds for politicians.
Save America spent little in the waning weeks of 2020, with a little more than $200,000 going to underwrite merchant fees at the online fundraising platform, WinRed, the filings with the Federal Election Commission show. The filings cover activity between November 24 through December 31.
Trump could face substantial legal expenses in the impeachment trial slated to begin in a little over a week in the Senate. As CNN first reported, Trump suddenly lost his impeachment defense team with the departure of five lawyers over the weekend. By Sunday evening, he had announced two new attorneys, David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr., would oversee his defense.
Save America already has become part of Trump's political infrastructure.
Following a meeting last week with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Save America issued a statement, declaring "President Trump's popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time."
The PAC also commissioned and released a poll on Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney's reelection prospects as part of an effort to pay back the Republican for voting to impeach Trump, and to issue a warning to other Republicans not to run afoul of the former president.