- Former Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias has been revealed to have paid for the ‘dirty dossier’ on Donald Trump
- Campaign lawyer Marc Elias hired research firm Fusion GPS back in April 2016
- The firm had earlier gathered opposition material for an unknown GOP client
- Clinton’s lawyer and his law firm Perkins Coie continued to fund the research until days before last year’s election
- Former Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said the degree of what Clinton knew is ‘beyond my knowledge’
- He said he hadn’t spoken with Clinton about it
- Said Clinton ‘may or may not have’ been aware of level of detail that the campaign lawyer hired political intelligence firm Fusion GPS
Hillary Clinton’s former campaign spokesman says the candidate ‘may have’ known about her campaign’s funding of the infamous dossier of material on 2016 Republican rival Donald Trump.
Former Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said he hadn’t spoken with his former boss about whether she knew the origins of the dossier, after it was revealed Tuesday Clinton lawyer Marc Elias and the Democratic National Committee helped pay for it from April through October of last year.
‘Oh I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to her, no,’ Fallon told CNN Wednesday, asked whether Clinton knew about it.
Pressed, Fallon replied: ‘Well I mean she may have known. The degree of exactly what she knew is beyond my knowledge.’
It has been reported for about a year that a Republican donor provided initial funding for the dossier, which was compiled by ex British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Then, after the primaries, Democrats picked up the project.
Fallon said he did not know all of the layers of interactions between the Clinton camp, Elias, his law firm of Perkins Coie, or the political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, which contracted Steele to do the dossier.
‘For instance, it could have been that a decision was made to authorize Perkins Coie to commission do some kind of, commission some kind of research but then decisions about going out and finding Fusion GPS, finding Christopher Steele, I mean she may or may not have been aware of that level of detail I don’t know,’ he said.
When a reported tweeted out a clip of his comments about Clinton’s possible knowledge, Fallon added: ‘ So what if she did? Looking forward to the RNC reaction when the identity of the GOP funder comes out,’ in reference to the Republican National Committee.
Candidates routinely conduct opposition research, Fallon pointed out, although the dossier stands out for its detailed exploration of Trump’s possible business ties to Moscow – as well as unsubstantiated and salacious allegations about his alleged conduct in a Moscow hotel room.
‘I think it’s important to remember that a) opposition research happens all the time in campaigns, b) the reason that Fusion GPS had a head start on this and basically came to the campaign and pitched us was because they already had been commissioned and hired during the Republican primary,’ Fallon said.
‘Now I suspect we’re going to learn in the next day or two who the funder of it was during the Republican primary, because there is a subpoena here for Fusion GPS’ bank records in order to obtain not just the identity of the funder during the general election but also during the primary,’ he said.
‘So we’ll probably learn the Republican funder, too, and there won’t be any shame about whoever funded it during the GOP primary,’ he added.
He also pushed back on any comparison between contracting research and Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton in June of 2016 at Trump Tower.
‘Nothing here that took place with respect to the hiring of Fusion GPS, which is an independent private research firm that campaigns contract with all the time, nothing rises to the level of Donald Trump taking a meeting with an authorized representative of the Russian government for the purposes of trying to help Donald Trump’s campaign by way of illegal acts,’ Fallon said.
The president tweeted about the dossier Wednesday morning, hours after it was reported that the Clinton camp helped bankroll research that led to the ‘golden showers’ dossier on Trump.
‘Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President.’ Trump wrote. He ended his missive with the Twitter handle of his favorite network, ‘@FoxNews.’
Trump tweeted on Saturday that the FBI and Justice Department should ‘immediately release who paid for it’ after Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch and partner Thomas Catan last week invoked the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which protects Americans against self-incrimination.
Elias is one of the nation’s top Democratic campaign lawyers, and the latest revelations put the funding source within the Clinton campaign.
The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6million legal fees during the period of June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, while the DNC paid $3.6million in ‘legal and compliance consulting’, according to the Post. but it’s unclear how much of that was related to Fusion GPS.
The FBI also is said to have agreed to pay Steele to continue gathering intelligence but reneged on the agreement after his cover was blown.
Fallon predicted the other piece of the puzzle would emerge soon.