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Story highlights

"We need your contribution by 11:59 P.M. Tonight," the email said

"Crooked Hillary is about to invade your TV with ads attacking Mr. Trump," Team Trump said

Washington CNN —  

The Donald Trump campaign on Saturday released its first “emergency” fund-raising email, in response to an ad blitz from the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“Right now we’re facing an emergency goal of $100,000 to help get our ads on the air. We need your contribution by 11:59 P.M. Tonight,” the email from Team Trump said.

“Crooked Hillary is about to invade your TV with ads attacking Mr. Trump. But we’re preparing to fight back,” it reads.

The email promises to release ads attacking Clinton on her role in Benghazi, the integrity of her donors and reported FBI probing of her private email server while secretary of state.

The urgent fundraising email is routine for most presidential campaigns. But it’s particularly notable since Trump insisted repeatedly during the GOP primary season that he was self-funding his campaign, only to start asking for donations later on.

Republican officials and activists are increasingly concerned that Trump is underestimating the fundraising challenge ahead as he faces off against Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

RELATED: Mitt Romney retreat puts spotlight on Donald Trump’s fund-raising problem in critical stretch

As the general election heats up, the Clinton campaign on Thursday aired its first general election television ad, targeting Trump for comments about violence at his events and what critics have said was mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter.

Despite the Trump campaign’s urgent appeal for campaign donations on Saturday afternoon he raised the prospect of paying for his general election bid himself. At a Las Vegas rally, he argued that if GOP establishment types didn’t fully support his campaign he could self-fund, rather than relying on the party apparatus to help bring in donations.

“Life is like two way street, right?” Trump said. “Otherwise I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. I’ll just keep funding my own campaign. I’m ok with that. That’s the easy way. I mean for me, that’s the easy way. But, hopefully I can continue to go the way we’re going, and this weekend we raised a lot of money. We’ve raised a lot of money for the Republican Party. We’ll keep doing it, because we do have tremendous support within the party that I can tell you.”