Trump and allies raising funds off FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago

The ex-president said the raid was the latest "political targeting" against him.

August 11, 2022, 11:13 AM

Former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are fundraising off Monday's FBI raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, providing another platform for Trump to capitalize financially on government investigations related to him.

Trump's Save America PAC sent out a fundraising email Tuesday morning in which Trump urged supporters to "rush in a donation IMMEDIATELY to publicly stand with me against this NEVERENDING WITCH HUNT."

Trump, in the email, cast the lawful search of his estate as an attack on all his supporters, saying the FBI raid "violated" not only his home but the "home of every patriotic American who I have been fighting for since that iconic moment I came down the Golden Escalators in 2015."

"I need every single red-blooded American Patriot to step up during this time," the email read.

Justice Department and FBI officials declined to comment on the raid, saying that they don't discuss ongoing investigations.

Trump's latest fundraising push comes amid what appears to be a gradual slowing down of his massive fundraising prowess, as Trump's fundraising committees have been bringing in relatively smaller hauls over the past few months.

Last month, Trump's Save America Joint Fundraising Committee reported raising just $17 million during the entire three-month period from April through June, including a little under $6 million for the Save America PAC itself. The amount represents a big drop from the hundreds of millions of dollars Trump's team and the Republican Party raised together in the months following the 2020 election.

Trump supporters rally outside of Trump Tower after the former U.S. President Donald Trump said that FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York, Aug. 9, 2022.
David Dee Delgado/Reuters

The Republican National Committee, which has continued to raise money in Trump's name even though it no longer fundraises in conjunction with Trump's PAC, also sought to raise funds off the FBI raid. It sent out an email with the subject line "BREAKING NEWS" to supporters late Monday night, just as the news about the raid was unfolding, saying that "This is UNPRECEDENTED."

"We need YOU ... to step up RIGHT NOW to stand with the GOP & STOP JOE BIDEN," the email read.

Early Tuesday morning, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel continued the fundraising appeal during an appearance on Fox News, where she urged supporters to donate to Trump-endorsed 2022 Senate candidates including Herschel Walker in Georgia, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Adam Laxalt in Nevada, and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's campaign, meanwhile, was selling hats and T-shirts that say "Defund the FBI."

"The FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago provides not just Trump, but the whole Republican base that affiliates with Trump, a significant but temporary boost in fundraising as well as an opportunity to propagandize for the upcoming election," Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at the Washington-based progressive watchdog group Public Citizen, told ABC News.

Holman said he expects the appeals to be "highly successful at first, but probably short-lived," depending on what the FBI uncovered at Trump's estate.

"At this point, the FBI is not saying anything, which allows Trump and his affiliates to scream the most extreme conspiracy messages for fundraising," Holman said. "But once the FBI starts unveiling what it found hidden away in Mar-a-Lago -- assuming that the FBI did in fact find incriminating records -- the appeals will lose their legs."

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who is leading the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, said he doesn't know the details of the FBI raid but that it must have been based on a warrant approved by a judge.

"In any investigation, you follow the facts," Thompson said. "I'm not certain as to the specifics of why the FBI did the raid on Mar-a-Lago, but as you know, a judge had to approve the affidavit for the warrant."

Trump himself said Monday's raid was just the latest "political targeting" against him and his supporters.

Former President Donald Trump waves as he departs Trump Tower, Aug. 10, 2022, in New York, on his way to the New York attorney general's office for a deposition in a civil investigation.
Julia Nikhinson/AP

"The political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years," he said in a statement Monday night. "It just never ends."

In the meantime, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump for the presidency in 2016, also appeared to be capitalizing on news of the raid. On Monday she tweeted out a donation link for her political organization, and promoted existing campaign merchandise like hats and T-shirts that read "But her emails."

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