- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for opposition research resulting in the salacious intelligence dossier on President Trump, the law firm that hired opposition research company Fusion GPS has confirmed.

The disclosure comes as Fusion GPS is engaged in a legal battle to keep its banking records secret in order to protect its clients’ identities.

In letter sent from Perkins Coie law firm to Fusion on Tuesday, the law firm waived its client confidentiality and confirmed that it had been representing the interests of the DNC and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign when it sought out Fusion’s research services.

Perkins Coie’s General Counsel Matthew Gehringer wrote in the letter, obtained by The Washington Times, that the law firm assisted in representation of the DNC and the Clinton campaign by contracting with Fusion beginning in April 2016 “to perform a variety of research services during the 2016 election cycle.” Those research services concluded prior to the November 2016 election, in which Mr. Trump was elected.

The Clinton campaign was not the only party to pay for the dossier research however, and Mr. Gehringer urged other parties with a hand in the dossier to publicly disclose their involvement.

Mr. Gehringer wrote that Perkins Coie appreciates Fusion’s commitment to client confidentiality, but that under the circumstances “we believe it is appropriate to release Fusion GPS from this obligation as it relates to the identity of Perkins Coie.”

“Further, given the interest in the issue, we believe it would be appropriate for all parties who hired Fusion GPS in connection with the 2016 presidential campaign to release Fusion GPS from this obligation as well,” he wrote.

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement that current ChairmanTom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC “were not involved in the decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida was leading the DNC at the time.

Research for the dossier was conducted by former British spy Christopher Steele, who had worked with the FBI in the past and eventually shared some of his findings with the bureau after it began probing possible connections between Trump associates and the Russian government.

Former FBI Director James Comey at one point briefed Mr. Trump on the dossier following an intelligence briefing in January.

But the salacious allegations about Mr. Trump’s involvement with Russia and susceptibility to blackmail went public when Buzzfeed News published the 35-page document.

Lingering questions about who paid for the dossier had sparked a partisan battle between U.S. lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any possible coordination with members of the Trump campaign.

House Democrats have said efforts to discredit Mr. Steele and the dossier are part of an effort to distract focus from the broader Russia probe. But Republicans have said it’s important to find out who paid for the opposition research as well as how heavily the FBI relied on the information in it as agents pursued their own investigations. Some have expressed concern that opposition research was used as the basis for a foreign surveillance order.

Reports have previously indicated that Fusion GPS was commissioned by a third-party to conduct political opposition research on Mr. Trump in the fall of 2015, but that the party withdrew from the contract in the spring of 2016.

The House Intelligence Committee is still pushing access to Fusion’s banking records in an effort to identify all parties involved. A federal court judge is weighing a subpoena that seeks access to bank records dating back to 2015, and has pushed back the deadline to respond until Friday.

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