Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee added a notch to their belt Tuesday, with the bombshell revelation that the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funded the infamous anti-Trump dossier.
A series of subpoenas issued by the committee this month against the research firm, Fusion GPS, appear to have smoked out the client, who was identified by The Washington Post as Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. (RELATED: BOMBSHELL REPORT: Clinton Campaign And DNC Funded Trump Dossier)
“It’s very obvious, understanding that they leaked a story to the Washington Post to try to get it out there with as sympathetic spin as possible on an absolutely terrible story for them and Democrats,” speculated one source familiar with the House Intelligence Committee’s activities.
On Tuesday, a lawyer at Perkins Coie, where Elias is a partner, sent a letter to Fusion GPS’s attorney relieving the firm of its confidentiality obligations regarding the dossier project.
“In the circumstances,” wrote Perkins Coie’s Matthew Gehringer, “we believe it is appropriate to release Fusion GPS from this obligation as it relates to the identity of Perkins Coie.”
According to Gehringer, Fusion GPS approached Perkins Coie last March offering to continue its ongoing opposition research on Trump.
Fusion had been working since Sept. 2015 for an unidentified “Never Trump” Republican donor. Perkins Coie hired Fusion the following month. Shortly after, Fusion hired former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s activities in Russia. The result is the infamous 35-page dossier full of salacious and uncorroborated allegations about Trump and his campaign.
The House Intelligence Committee has led the push to identify Fusion’s dossier client. The involvement of Democrats is significant, Republicans say, because of the dossier’s central importance to the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Republicans like Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have expressed concern that the FBI may have relied on political opposition research to kickstart its Trump investigation.
TheDC is told that now that the identity of the dossier donor has been revealed, the committee will refocus on obtaining documents from the FBI and Justice Department related to its reliance on the dossier. The agencies have so far refused to comply with subpoenas for those documents.
According to The Post, Elias, the general counsel to both the Clinton campaign and DNC, is who made the deal with Fusion. Perkins Coie received more than $12 million from the campaign and DNC during the 2016 cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Perkins Coie’s decision to out itself comes as Fusion GPS is battling the House Intelligence Committee in federal court over the release of its bank records. The records would identify all of Fusion’s clients for the past two years, the firm said in court filings for the case.
On Oct. 4, the committee issued subpoenas to Fusion’s three co-founders as well as to TD Bank, the research firm’s bank. Two of Fusion’s co-founders invoked their Fifth Amendment privileges during a brief interview with the committee earlier this month. And Fusion’s lawyers pressed a federal judge late last week to issue an injunction blocking TD Bank from giving its bank records to the committee.
A House committee source says that Fusion likely expected the federal court to order TD Bank to comply with the subpoena and that it was “better to get ahead of the story.”
“It’s clear they figured there was a really good chance they were going to lose,” the source said.
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