Who pays for President Trump's impeachment defence? Is it the US state or does President Trump need to pay for his own defence?


1 Answer 1


Personal lawyers are paid for by the President himself while the federal government pays for lawyers from the Office of the White House Counsel (see this WH document for their salaries).

Legal teams outside of the Office of the White House Counsel cannot be covered using taxpayers' funds:

The White House did not respond this week to requests for comment about how Trump would pay for his outside legal team, the cost of which cannot be covered by the federal government.

(excerpt above is from May 2017, not regarding lawyers from Trump's impeachment defense team)

From Factcheck.org:

Claire Finkelstein, University of Pennsylvania Law School professor and director of the school’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, told us that “there is currently no legal provision that would allow President Trump to receive assistance with or reimbursement for his personal legal fees in defending against either obstruction of justice charges or charges relating to potential collusion with Russia in subverting the 2016 election.”

(emphasis mine)

It's worth noting that Bill Clinton had to personally pay for most of the legal bills of personal lawyers that defended him during his impeachment.

He and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., owed millions to lawyers who defended them during the years-long investigation of Whitewater and other business dealings and helped in the Monica Lewinsky impeachment mess.

  • 36
    Also might be worth noting that Clinton had been offered pro bono services, had the sense to ask the ethics office about it, and had been advised against accepting any discounted or pro bono services. Trump, on the other hand, has apparently been receiving pro bono services from at least Giuliani. Jan 19, 2020 at 20:59
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    @zibadawatimmy Trump and Giuliani have a long-standing relationship of scratching each others' backs. I'm sure RG expects some consideration in the future in lieu of payment.
    – Barmar
    Jan 20, 2020 at 2:10
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    @Barmar "some consideration in the future in lieu of payment" I guess that's exactly why the ethics office advises against it...
    – Jasper-M
    Jan 20, 2020 at 14:23
  • If the lawyers bills the President for their services at full rate, but decline to collect the payments until he is out of office I'm reasonably confident that would pass legal muster. Jan 20, 2020 at 20:27
  • Hmmm, am I the only one who finds it worrying that the system is set up so that only a rather rich person can defend themselves adequately? Or did I miss something about the part that is taxpayer-funded being sufficient to deal with an impeachment? How would say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made the news for not being able to pay DC rent at the start of her congress career, afford an impeachment? I guess you could get a Go Fund Me, but that's rather tawdry for the office of POTUS, no? Remember: Rome's senators didn't get paid (except by corruption), so only the rich were senators. Jan 21, 2020 at 1:22

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