Photo Credit: Courtesy Aaron Klein
Aaron Klein

New Details Emerge On Payments For Infamous Trump Dossier

Recently released congressional testimony by Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, reveals new details about alleged payments by Perkins Coie – the law firm that represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) – to Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the largely discredited 35-page anti-Trump dossier.

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Fusion GPS was retained by Perkins Coie to conduct its anti-Trump work which resulted in the questionable dossier. Instead of Fusion GPS receiving lump sums from Perkins Coie, Simpson testified that he believes Fusion GPS expensed Steele’s payments directly to Perkins Coie. Simpson stated that bank records show Steele received a total of about $160,000.

Simpson’s statements represent the clearest insight yet about the specifics of the reported payments to Steele. In October, the Washington Post reported that in April 2016, attorney Marc E. Elias and his law firm Perkins Coie retained Fusion GPS to conduct the firm’s anti-Trump work on behalf of both Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the DNC.

Neither Elias nor two media relations representatives for Perkins Coie returned a request from this reporter seeking comment on any billing arrangements resulting in payments to Steele.

Through Perkins Coie, Clinton’s campaign and the DNC continued to fund Fusion GPS until October 2016, days before Election Day, the Post reported.

While it is not clear how much the Clinton campaign or the DNC paid Fusion GPS, the UK Independent, citing campaign finance records, reported that the Clinton campaign doled out $5.6 million to Perkins Coie from June 2015 to December 2016. Records show that since November 2015, the DNC paid the law firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting.”

The BBC reported that the information in the dossier served as a “roadmap” for the FBI’s investigation into claims of coordination between Moscow and members of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Last April, CNN reported that the dossier served as part of the FBI’s justification for seeking the FISA court’s reported approval to clandestinely monitor the communications of Carter Page, the American oil industry investor who was tangentially and briefly associated with Trump’s presidential campaign.

That purported FISA warrants is currently at the center of controversy as House Republicans seek the release of a memo which apparently alleges FISA surveillance abuses under the Obama administration.

 

Did The FBI Pay For Anti-Trump Research?

In his testimony before Congress, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn R. Simpson stated it “makes sense” to him that the FBI paid for a trip to Rome by the former British spy who was contracted by Simpson’s company to produce the largely discredited 35-page anti-Trump dossier.

Last July, Steele reportedly traveled to Rome, where he met with an FBI contact to supply the agency with the anti-Trump dossier and other information he found during the course of his anti-Trump work.

Simpson stated that Steele’s outreach to the FBI was “something that Chris took on on his own.” Simpson stated that as far as he knew Fusion GPS did not fund Steele’s trip to Rome to meet with the FBI. He said he believes that the trip expenses may have been reimbursed by the FBI.

The Washington Post reported in February that Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.” According to the Post, the FBI ultimately did not pay Steele.

The FBI’s national press office did not return a Breitbart News request seeking comment on whether the agency paid for Steele’s Rome trip or reimbursed him for any expenses. In March, CNN cited people familiar with the matter as saying that the FBI reimbursed Steele for some expenses.

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