Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee’s new chairman, stonewalled reporters Tuesday by refusing to divulge any concrete information about the DNC’s financial payments to Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that produced the salacious “Trump Dossier.”
In his first national press conference since the DNC payments became public, Perez stoutly defended the DNC’s decision to hire Fusion GPS, saying it would have constituted “malpractice” to not retain the opposition research firm.
“Opposition research is not simply something that ought be done, it would be malpractice not to do it,” he told reporters assembled for an on-the-record newsmakers breakfast meeting held by the Christian Science Monitor.
But Perez refused to disclose any basic information about the DNC’s role with the dossier and Fusion GPS.
When specifically asked, the DNC chairman declined to report how much money the DNC paid Fusion GPS, which DNC official authorized the payment or identify any DNC officials who actively collaborated with the opposition research firm.
One week after the Washington Post revealed that the Clinton presidential campaign and the DNC paid Fusion GPS, he told reporters he still had not examined how much money had been paid to the firm. “I don’t know how much of the opposition research was Fusion opposition research. I have not desegregated that amount.”
Perez also indicated that he had not ordered an internal investigation about the DNC’s role with the firm.
The DNC chairman continued to plead ignorance over the payments, repeating a previous claim that the hiring of Fusion GPS did not occur on his watch.
“As you know I wasn’t working at the DNC the time of this contract,” he told reporters.
He also repeated the Democrats’ charge that the Russians hacked the DNC emails and the Russians were “in regular contact” with the Trump campaign.
“We know that we were hacked by the Russians at the DNC. We now know from yesterday the Trump and the Russians were in regular contact. They weren’t getting together to trade vodka recipes. They were getting together to affect the outcome of the race in 2016,” Perez said.
Trump “has a very shady relationship with Russian authorities,” according to Perez. “What we know from the research, the Trump campaign and the Russians were talking to each other,” he added.
He also pointed a finger at the Washington Free Beacon’s financier Paul Singer, who retained Fusion GPS before the dossier was compiled, claiming the DNC merely “continued” the project.
“When their work was done, it was continued by the Democrats,” Perez said.
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