In the hours immediately following Washington Post’s bombshell that Hillary Clinton‘s campaign had colluded through intermediaries to purchase unverified Russian propaganda on Donald Trump in an attempt to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, reporters began claiming that before Clinton it was a Republican who paid for the Russian dossier.
It just isn’t true.
Here is the significant passage from the WaPo article: (emphasis added)
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.
After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.
It is accurate to say that an un-named Republican client hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research, but not they did not pay for what became know as the “Russian dossier.” The information contained in the “Russian dossier” which was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, was all bought and paid for by Team Hillary well after the unknown Republican was out of the picture.
Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller found Steele’s personal account of his engagement with the Democrats:
Here's what Steele filed in London court earlier this year — Fusion hired his firm in *June*. GOP client dropped in March, we now know. pic.twitter.com/NSwlcS0Jre
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) October 25, 2017
Yet, as Ross points out, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer made the false claim about Republicans funding the dossier Wednesday evening:
Meanwhile, Jason LeMiere, Congressional Reporter for Newsweek, penned a disturbingly inaccurate article claiming “Republicans Are Pretending They Didn’t Fund The Trump Golden Shower Dossier Before Hillary Clinton” and yet, the truth is Republicans did NOT fund the “Golden Shower Dossier.”
LeMiere’s article attempts to slam the RNC for putting out an email pointing to the WaPo account while omitting a reference to the unknown GOP client.
The RNC just sent around the Post’s Fusion GPS story with this very critical line removed. pic.twitter.com/vC2NXW7om4
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) October 25, 2017
That’s fair. We at Mediaite hit that story as well. But LeMiere takes his attack a step too far by making the claim that the dossier was funded by Republicans.
There was just one problem with the version of the Washington Post story that the RNC reposted on its website: a line stating that prior to the Clinton campaign picking up the tab, the research was “funded by an unknown Republican during the GOP primary” was notably absent.
Well, no, “the research” that ended up being the “golden shower dossier” referenced in LeMiere’s click-begging headline was not conducted until after Hillary Clinton’s big money donations found their way into the hands of Steele which was months after the GOP was out of the Fusion GPS picture.
But, LeMiere wasn’t done. He also needed to hammer President Trump in his already fact-challenged hit piece:
Trump suggested, without evidence, last week that Democrats, the FBI, Russia, or a combination of all three may have been responsible for financing the dossier.
Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017
Trump actually is much closer to the facts at hand than LeMiere is on this topic. We now know the Democrats paid for it, but what about the outrageous suggestion that the FBI financed it as well?
Here’s a CNN report from March:
The FBI reimbursed some expenses of the former British intelligence operative who produced a dossier containing allegations of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, people familiar with the matter said.
The short-lived arrangement before the US election ended abruptly in part because of the frustration of Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy, that the FBI wasn’t doing enough to investigate the Trump-Russia ties. The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that the FBI and Steele had sought to reach a payment arrangement.
An official familiar with the discussions said the FBI didn’t hire Steele as an informant, but that the arrangement instead allowed for expenses to be paid. It couldn’t be learned how much he was paid and for how long.
The FBI “reimbursed some expenses” related to the dossier and were in negotiations for additional payments to Steele before the general election.
North Eastern Journalism Professor Dan Kennedy, in an attempt to be the arbiter of fact and truth in the fast-moving politically volatile story, falsely tweeted that Republicans initially financed the dossier:
So here’s what we’d known for a year: the Steele dossier was opposition research funded first by Republicans, then by Democrats. (1/2)
— Dan Kennedy (@dankennedy_nu) October 25, 2017
And that is just wrong.
Want to know why 47% of Americans believe the media makes up stories to hurt President Trump? Because they do.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.