RNC gave almost half a million dollars to law firm representing people in Russia probes

The Republican National Committee (RNC) paid nearly half a million dollars to a law firm that represented clients, including former White House communications director Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksHope Hicks defends accuracy of her congressional testimony Nadler subpoenas Lewandowski, former White House official for testimony House panel to go to court to enforce McGahn subpoena, Nadler says MORE, in the ongoing Russian investigations, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The RNC paid Trout Cacheris & Janis $451,780 for its services, according to a federal filing.

Hicks hired the firm’s founder, Robert Trout, to be her personal attorney last September, according to reports.

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Three of the firm’s lawyers represented other people besides Hicks in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE’s investigation, as well as the investigations by the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Mueller and the House and Senate committees interviewed Hicks, one of Trump’s closest confidantes, earlier this year.

The Federal Election Commission report filed Sunday marks the first public disclosure of the RNC’s payments since Hicks hired Trout, according to the Post.

The RNC began using a pool of money it had gathered for election recounts and other issues to pay for Trump and his associates’ legal fees linked to the Russia investigations, the Post reported.

In February, a legal defense fund was created to pay for such expenses, but it is still unclear if the fund has money due to a lack of public disclosure.  

The RNC raised $12.7 million in April for a total of $173.9 million in the 2018 cycle, according to the Post. The Democratic National Committee raised $7.8 million in April and $92.2 million for the 2018 cycle.

However, outside groups supporting Democrats outraised those supporting Republicans in April.