The third impeachment trial in U.S. history is rapidly heading toward a close, with President Trump’s acquittal all but guaranteed after the Senate on Friday rejected a call to allow new witness testimony.
According to an estimate from the Heritage Foundation in December, the Democrat-led House of Representatives inquiry, and eventual impeachment of Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Dec. 18, cost taxpayers an estimated $3.06 million.
That price tag includes the money spent on the salaries of 106 congressional staffers from the House Intelligence Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Reform Committee, who worked on impeachment from Sept. 24 to Dec. 13, according to the Daily Signal. It also included the estimated hourly fees of six attorneys who appeared during hearings.
At the heart of the impeachment case is the allegation that Trump intentionally withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the country to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest natural gas company, while his father was vice president.
Trump has maintained that he acted appropriately.
While the figure doesn't include the Senate trial, the tab through December is sharply lower than the one for the impeachment investigation and trial of President Bill Clinton two decades ago. According to CNN, the independent probe into Clinton cost taxpayers $80 million in 1994.
The Republican National Committee is picking up the tab for at least two of Trump’s private attorneys, according to The Washington Post, a far different strategy than that employed by Clinton, who set up a legal fund that failed to cover millions of dollars in bills before he left office.
The law firms of Trump’s lead lawyer, Jay Sekulow, and attorney Jane Raskin have received $225,000 from the RNC through November, the Post reported. The party will pay the duo for their work in January and this month as the trial continues, according to the Post, which cited people familiar with the arrangement.
Last year, the RNC and Trump’s fundraising committees brought in a combined $463.6 million, ending the year with $194.8 million in the bank, highlighting the party's success in capitalizing on the threat of impeachment.
"[Donors] are tuning out the Democrats’ politically motivated impeachment charade and turning out for the president and his record of results," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to Fox News.
Because Trump is on trial as a result of his holding office, he’s allowed to use his campaign or party coffers to pay his bills. His legal team also includes Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz (who has said he won't accept payment for his work), former independent counsel Ken Starr, who led the Clinton investigation; and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Closing arguments will begin Monday morning and will not exceed four hours total. Senators plan to vote Wednesday on the two impeachment charges against Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of justice.