Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund political research into Donald Trump that ultimately produced a dossier of allegations about his ties to Russia, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press on Tuesday night.
The revelation is likely to fuel complaints by Trump that the dossier, which the president has derided as “phony stuff”, is a politically motivated collection of salacious claims. Yet the FBI has worked to corroborate the document, and in a sign of its ongoing relevance to investigators, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team – which is investigating potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign – weeks ago questioned the former British spy, Christopher Steele, who helped compile the claims in the dossier.
The dossier, which circulated in Washington last year and was turned over to the FBI for its review, contends that Russia was engaged in a longstanding effort to aid Trump and had amassed compromising information about him. Trump has repeatedly dismissed the document as false and in recent days has questioned on Twitter whether Democrats or the FBI had helped fund it.
Trump has also attacked the findings of the FBI, NSA and CIA that Russia waged a large-scale influence campaign to interfere in the election. The FBI and the CIA have said with high confidence that the effort was aimed at hurting Clinton’s candidacy and helping Trump. The NSA found the same with “moderate” confidence.
The person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential client matters, said the arrangement was brokered by Marc Elias, a lawyer for the Clinton campaign and the DNC, and his law firm of Perkins Coie.
The deal began in the spring of 2016, when the firm was approached by Fusion GPS, the political research firm behind the dossier, and lasted until right before election day, according to the person. When Fusion approached Elias, it had already been doing research work on Trump for a client during the GOP primary. The identity of the original client has not been revealed.