Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign helped fund research into a dossier about President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, according to The Washington Post.
The Post on Tuesday reported that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) also contributed funding to the controversial document.
People familiar with the matter told The Post that Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS to conduct the research.
Fusion GPS is a firm based in Washington, D.C., and it next hired dossier author Christopher Steele.
Steele is a former British intelligence officer was ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to The Post’s sources.
Elias and his firm, Perkins Coie, retained Fusion GPs in April 2016 on behalf of both Clinton’s campaign and the DNC.
Fusion GPS’s research into Trump before that agreement was funded by an unidentified Republican client during the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
Clinton’s campaign and the DNC then continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research via Perkins Coie through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.
People familiar with the matter told The Post that Fusion GPS ultimately gave Steele’s reports and other research documents to Elias.
One person knowledgeable on the situation noted that neither Clinton’s campaign nor the DNC were informed by Perkins Coie of Fusion GPS’s role.
The DNC issued a statement late Tuesday distancing the organization and its current leadership from Fusion GPS.
“[DNC Chairman] Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization,” DNC spokeswoman Xohitl Hinojosa said.
“But let’s be clear, there is a serious investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.”
Trump suggested last week that the Democrats, Russia or the FBI could be involved in funding for the unverified dossier about him.
“Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th,” he tweeted. “Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly interviewed Steele about the dossier last summer as part of the federal probe into Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential race.
Mueller’s investigation includes potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign, and the president has repeatedly called it a “witch hunt” against him.