- Former Trump aides are flocking to a conservative defense fund for help paying their legal bills.
- Matt Schlapp said it aims to help junior aides who “are being squeezed” to discuss more senior ones.
- Schlapp, the fund’s chair, said he and the Trump team decide who can use cash from the fund.
Some of former President Donald Trump’s aides subpoenaed by the January 6 committee have turned to a multimillion-dollar fund filled with conservative donors’ cash to pay their legal bills.
The First Amendment Fund’s website said it was set up to “defend US citizens from unconstitutional overreach” and protect “those who are in the cross hairs of the corrupt January 6 committee and others who are threatened by political persecution due to their beliefs.”
Matt Schlapp, the organization’s chair, told CNN the fund has raised “over seven figures” from donors. But there’s a catch: the final call on who can use cash from the fund is decided “in communication with [Trump’s] team” and is contingent on whether they cooperate with the January 6 panel investigating the Capitol riot, Schlapp told CNN.
“We are certainly not going to assist anyone who agrees with the mission of the committee and is aiding and abetting the committee,” Schlapp said. He added that the fund reserved “the right to make decisions over whether someone gets assistance or doesn’t.”
Schlapp didn’t disclose to CNN which Trump-linked persons had reached out to him, but he said the fund was designed to help junior aides who he said were “being squeezed to tell dirt on more senior people.”
“Our interest is in helping those who don’t have the financial resources to help themselves, especially those from the Trump administration who are from a younger generation,” Schlapp said.
Schlapp told CNN that he hadn’t rejected any requests to get money from the fund yet, but he said he believed there would come a time when he would inevitably “have to make choices on who to fund.”
The January 6 committee last week issued subpoenas to former Trump attorneys, including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis. Separately, the committee also asked Trump’s daughter Ivanka for her voluntary cooperation with its probe.
Meanwhile, several people in Trump’s orbit, including former Attorney General Bill Barr, former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, and staffers who worked for former Vice President Mike Pence, have cooperated with the committee.