'No precedent for this': Here's why the GOP is paying millions for Trump’s legal bills
Jared Kushner and Donald Trump (Photo: White House)

Former President Donald J. Trump has remained a pillar in the Republican Party one year after leaving office in disgrace and despite facing multiple investigations, including his participation in the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, alleged business fraud and sexual assault cases.

David Farenthold, who covers the Trump family and their businesses for The Washington Post, joined Amna Nawaz on PBS' NewsHour to discuss why Republicans are footing the bill for Trump's legal woes - and what is means for the country.

"Let's start in New York with those two parallel probes, a civil one and a criminal one, looking into the Trump businesses. The civil probe is by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, the criminal one by James and the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance," Nawaz told Farenthold. "Your reporting has found that Mr. Trump's legal bills, up to the tune of $1.6 million, are being paid for by the Republican Party. Is there precedent for that? And what did they tell you about why they are doing that?"

"There is no precedent for this," Farenthold answered. "...former President Trump is not a Republican candidate. He's not a Republican officeholder. And the investigations he is facing have nothing to do with his time in office. They all predate — they focus on his business in the years before he ran for president. So there is no connection to the Republican Party or Republican officeholders involved here."

READ: GOP to pay $1.6M of Trump's legal bills in 'highly unusual' move: report

Farenthold added, "But the Republican Party still is paying this money. And, obviously, Trump has a pot of money in his packet. He has money in his business. He could afford this, but they are paying his bills anyway. What I think is really going on here is that Trump, although he is out of office and is not running, is a linchpin in Republican fund-raising efforts. He is the key to the RNC's fund-raising future. And if he were to turn on them, if he were to leave, if he were to talk bad about them, that could be devastating. So they may be paying to sort of keep him in their — to keep themselves in his good graces."