The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the research that became the infamous dossier on President Donald Trump after the original Republican donor stopped funding it, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
An unknown GOP donor first contracted Fusion GPS to do research on Trump during the Republican primaries, but at some point stopped paying. That is when lawyer Marc E. Elias, who represented the Clinton campaign and the DNC, stepped in with his law firm Perkins Coie.
Fusion GPS hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to do the work, which began as a look into the billionaire real estate developers background, but turned to looking at Trump's Russia ties when it became apparent that they were extensive, sources told the Post.
Fusion GPS's founders have refused to give testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on the matter, though founder Glenn Simpson has previously spoken to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees between June 2015 and December 2016, according to the Post, citing campaign finance records. The DNC paid them $3.6 million in "legal and compliance consulting," though it is not clear how much of that was related to Fusion GPS.
Neither the Clinton campaign nor the DNC ever directed Steele's work, the Post's sources said. The probe continued into October 2016, just days before the general election.
The FBI continued paying for the research after the election until Steele's name was made public. The FBI said some of the information in the dossier has been verified, though not the more salacious aspects, which Trump has denied.
Steele's reports were given to Elias, according to the Post, but it is not known how much of the information was passed on to the Clinton campaign or the DNC. It is also not known which members of either organization were aware of Fusion GPS and Steele's roles in the gathering the information.
One source told the Post that the law firm didn't inform anyone at the campaign or the DNC about who was behind the dossier.
The information in the report quickly began circulating throughout Washington circles, including among the media. Arizona Sen. John McCain got a copy of it, and handed it over to the FBI.
Then FBI-Director James Comey presented Trump with a two-page summary of the findings in January 2017, and BuzzFeed published the entire report on its website that same month.
Trump demanded in a tweet on Saturday that information on who paid for the dossier be released.
The dossier has been a hot topic in Washington amid multiple ongoing investigation on Russian interference in the presidential election. Democratic critics have alleged collusion between members of Trump's campaign staff and the Russian government. Trump has denied any such ties.
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