The Democratic National Committee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign funded the research that led to the now-famous dossier that contained bizarre allegations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.
In April 2016, Clinton's campaign lawyer, Marc Elias, hired Washington-based research firm Fusion GPS to investigate allegations of then-presidential candidate Trump's ties to Russia, The Washington Post reported.
The research firm hired British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on trump. The findings were then submitted to Elias through Fusion GPS.
The firm's research led to reports of suspicious activity between Trump's campaign and Russia, including the infamous "golden shower" accusations, which alleged that Russian officials had video footage of Trump prancing around with prostitutes during his visit to a luxury Moscow hotel for the Miss Universe Contest in 2013, according to the Daily Mail. The dossier also alleged that the prostitutes performed a "golden shower" urination routine as a demonstration of disgust for then-President Barack Obama.
Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, reportedly continued funding the research until October 2016, right before Election Day. Before Elias got involved, the research was reportedly funded by an unnamed anti-Trump Republican donor during the primary race.
A DNC spokeswoman has since denied any involvement from the chairman or party leaders in the hiring of Fusion GPS.
“[Chairman] Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization," the spokeswoman told The Washington Post. "But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.”
Former spokesman for the Clinton campaign, Brian Fallon, added that he was also unaware of the hiring, and insisted that Trump deserved to be under investigation.
“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” Fallon said. “But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it. Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it.
"I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election.”
Although it is unclear how much money was paid to Fusion GPS, campaign finance records show that the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees between June 2015 and December 2016. The DNC has reportedly paid the law firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015.
The bombshell report also states that the FBI agreed to pay Steele to continue investigating Trump's ties to Russia after the election. They reportedly withdrew from the agreement after Steele, who was known and well respected for work he had done on a global corruption probe, was identified in news reports.
New York Times reporter Ken Vogel took to Twitter to accuse Elias of previously denying involvement in the Trump dossier shortly after the Washington Post report was released.
"When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer [Marc Elias] pushed back vigorously, saying 'You (or your sources) are wrong,'" Vogel tweeted.