The Fusion GPS dossier on Donald Trump was funded by both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, a stunning revelation that could change the entire scandal.
The Washington Post, in an exclusive report written by Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman, says the dossier that asserted that there were ties between Trump and Russia were funded by Trump’s political enemies.
The dossier was used to feed the news stories, and a narrative, that continues to this day. The dossier also made some salacious accusations against Trump as well.
FBI Director James Comey used the dossier to brief President Obama on the matter and begin an investigation.
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.
Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community.
Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the firm in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Prior to that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC through the law firm continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.
Fusion GPS gave Steele’s reports and other research documents to Elias, the people familiar with the matter said. It is unclear how or how much of that information was shared with the campaign and DNC, and who in those organizations was aware of the roles of Fusion GPS and Steele. One person close to the matter said the campaign and the DNC weren’t informed of Fusion GPS’s role by the law firm.
The dossier has become a lightning rod amid the intensifying investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia. Some congressional Republican leaders have spent months trying to discredit Fusion GPS and Steele, and tried to determine the identity of the Democrat or organization that paid for it.
Trump tweeted as recently as Saturday that the Justice Department and FBI should “immediately release who paid for it.”
Elias and Fusion GPS declined to comment on the arrangement. Spokespersons for the Clinton campaign and the DNC had no immediate comment.
Steele previously worked in Russia for British intelligence. The dossier is a compilation of reports he prepared for Fusion. The dossier alleged that the Russian government collected compromising information about Trump and the Kremlin was engaged in an active effort to assist his campaign for president.
U.S. intelligence agencies later released a public assessment which asserted that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to aid Trump. The FBI has been investigating whether any Trump associates helped the Russians in that effort.
Fusion GPS did not start off looking at Trump’s Russia ties, but quickly realized that those relationships were extensive, according to the people familiar with the matter.
When the Republican donor stopped paying for the research, Elias, acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, agreed to pay for the work to continue.
The Democrats paid for research, including by Fusion GPS, because of concerns that little was known about Trump and his business interests, according to the people familiar with the matter.
We will update this story as details become available.
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