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Money raised for Trump's election fights would help cover campaign debt

Analysis on Trump's legal strategy
Analysis on Trump's legal strategy after Biden's projected win 02:38

Washington — With President Trump refusing to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden's victory and continuing to falsely declare himself as the winner of the White House, the president and his campaign are soliciting donations from supporters for an "election defense fund" designed to "defend the integrity" of the election.

But the fine print shows that the full amount contributed to help the Trump campaign does not go toward efforts to ensure all votes are legally counted. Instead, at least half of each donation will go to paying off the campaign's debts, donation pages state.

For each contribution made to the Trump campaign's joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee, 60% will be deposited into the campaign's general election account for retirement of debt, or into the campaign's Recount Account if that debt has been paid off. The remaining 40% will go to the Republican National Committee's Operating account. Any additional money would be deposited in the party's Legal Proceedings Account or Headquarters account.

For donations to the Trump campaign specifically, 50% of each will go toward paying off its debt and the remaining 50% will be deposited into its Recount account. 

The most recent federal campaign finance records available showed the Trump campaign with $60 million cash-on-hand at the beginning of October. The campaign would go on to spend upwards of $160 million on television ads in the final month before the election.

CBS News projected Mr. Biden as the winner of the presidential race Saturday, as he cleared the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the White House. But Mr. Trump has refused to concede the election and instead has falsely claimed he is the winner.

The president and his allies have also alleged that the election was rife with fraud and have filed lawsuits in a slew of states in an effort to litigate their way to the White House. Lawsuits filed in Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, however, were thrown out by judges in those states, and Mr. Trump's campaign has yet to provide evidence of widespread fraud.

Still, Mr. Trump is attempting to drum up support for his legal battles, sending out fundraising appeals that declare the election is "far from over," as election results have not yet been certified by the states and some states will hold recounts.

"The American people are entitled to an honest election; that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots," one fundraising email sent Sunday states. "This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election."

States have varying dates for certifying the results of their elections, and December 8 is the deadline for determining their presidential electors and resolving any election disputes.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday the state will likely head to a recount due to the margin of votes between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump. The president-elect is currently leading by 10,501 votes in the Peach State. Even without Georgia, Biden's projected victories in Pennsylvania and Nevada put him over the 270-vote threshold needed to prevail in the Electoral College.

The Trump campaign also said it would request a recount in Wisconsin, where Mr. Biden is ahead by 20,539 votes.

Nicole Sganga contributed reporting.

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