Trump raises $200m for post-election legal battles

(BBC) – 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.
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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.
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.
While the president may be running out of ways to challenge the 2020 presidential election, he has at least 207 million reasons to keep trying until the bitter end.
Mr Trump has been dealt a series of legal blows in his fight to overturn the election result and time is running out.
Earlier this week, US Attorney General William Barr said his justice department had found no proof to back President Trump’s allegations..
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” he said.
Mr Biden has 306 votes to Mr Trump’s 232 under the electoral college system that is used to pick US presidents, far more than the 270 needed to win. Mr Biden also leads the popular vote by nearly seven million ballots.

Electors from each state meet on 14 December to formally nominate the next president. Mr Biden is due to be sworn in on 20 January.

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