A Florida Republican who’s helping President Donald Trump undermine the special counsel probe — and who directly benefitted last year from Russian hacks — has gained the backing of some big-money conservative donors.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) hasn’t formally announced a run for governor, but he’ll have the president’s endorsement and the funding of several Trump megadonors and Koch allies, reported Politico.
The website obtained a copy of the DeSantis “Finance Leadership Team” that includes casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, hedge fund heiress and Breitbart owner Rebekah Mercer, investment tycoon Foster Friess and Citizens United president David Bossie.
“This sets DeSantis apart from the rest,” said Bossie, who also served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager. “He will have the financial resources and the ground game and the Trump base to be an incredible statewide candidate.”
The 39-year-old DeSantis set up a state political committee called the Fund for Florida’s Future to legally raise and spend unlimited soft money from corporate contributors.
“The 2018 election cycle will be important in determining the future of conservative policy reform and I’m glad that we’ve assembled a great group of leaders to assist with the cycle,” DeSantis said in a statement.
The Palm Coast resident represents Volusia and Flagler counties in Congress.
DeSantis has been calling for special counsel Robert Mueller to step aside over perceived political bias, and he and fellow Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) flew with the president on Air Force One earlier this month to Pensacola for a political rally.
GOP efforts to attack Mueller’s credibility have stepped up this month, after Mueller’s team obtained a guilty plea and a promise to cooperate from former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
Flynn and another Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, have each pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about their contacts with Russian agents.
Mueller has also obtained indictments against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his longtime business and political associate Rick Gates.
DeSantis directly benefited from hacked data handed over by the online persona Guccifer 2.0 — who U.S. intelligence services suspect is a front for Russian hackers.
A Florida blogger reached out to Guccifer 2.0 on Twitter in August 2016, and he was given 2.5 gigabytes of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee opposition research and other documents 10 days later.
Some of that stolen data included five documents related to the committee’s recruitment of DeSantis’ congressional race opponent George Pappas.