Steele Dossier was Funded First by Trump’s GOP Opponents Then by Democrats—Which We Knew

by Mark Sumner –

The Washington Post broke the story that sources connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party had taken over funding for Christopher Steele’s Trump–Russia compilation after Trump’s Republican opponents were knocked out of the race.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. …

Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

So, a lawyer with Clinton’s campaign hired Fusion GPS for opposition research—likely because they knew that Fusion had already been hired by at least one of Trump’s Republican opponents. Fusion, in turn, hired Steele’s firm. Only … this isn’t exactly breaking news. Here’s the Guardian story on the dossier from May.

Last year, a political intelligence firm in Washington, Fusion GPS, hired Steele to investigate Trump’s dealings with Russia. The DNC paid for the work after its initial funder, a wealthy Jeb Bush supporter, dropped out.

Which actually provides a bit more information that the newest revelations. But even that story is a latecomer. Here’s the first story about the Steele dossier from October 2016,

This was for a an opposition research project originally funded by a Republican client … before [Steele] was retained, the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.

That story hasn’t changed. Neither has the apparent accuracy of the dossier’s content.

The pretense that the funding behind the Steele dossier either invalidates the information that it contains, or somehow indicts Clinton as “doing the same thing” as Trump is nonsense. The Clinton campaign, like every other campaign in history, engaged in opposition research. Which is a far cry from either soliciting or accepting aid from a foreign government. 

“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” Fallon said. “But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it. Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it. I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election.”

Still, Donald Trump has tweeted repeatedly that there should be an investigation into the funding behind the dossier, as if that funding was in question. As expected, both Trump and Fox News are responding to the Post story as if it invalidates the information.

“Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President.” @FoxNews

BBC correspondent Paul Wood came forward Wednesday to reveal that there are multiple intelligence sources alleging Russia is in possession of potentially embarrassing or compromising material regarding President-elect Donald Trump. Formerly, only a single source was known to have been aware of the alleged material.

Experts have regarded those sources as credible and in need of further research.

“My general take is that the intelligence community and law enforcement seem to be taking these claims seriously. That itself is highly significant. But it is not the same as these allegations being verified,” Susan Hennessey a former lawyer for the National Security Administration, told Wired.

And numerous items from the dossier have since been confirmed.

For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN. 

All of which helps explain why both Trump and Trump supporters want the idea that Democratic dollars where behind Steele’s research to be seen as equivalent to “they made it up” … before the items being corroborated happened in a Moscow hotel room.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos