Perkins Coie hired company that compiled Trump dossier
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Perkins Coie lawyer Marc Elias hired the company that compiled a dossier with allegations about Donald Trump’s Russia connections, the law firm confirmed on Tuesday.
Elias hired the company, Fusion GPS, to assist in the law firm’s representation of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, report the New York Times and the Washington Post, which was first with the story. The Clinton campaign and the DNC helped pay for the opposition research, the stories report.
The law firm’s involvement became public in a letter filed in court that was written by Perkins Coie managing partner Matthew Gehringer. The letter said Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS in April 2016. Before that, Fusion GPS had been conducting research for one or more clients during the Republican primary.
A Perkins Coie spokesperson confirmed the law firm had hired Fusion GPS in an interview with the New York Times. The unidentified spokesperson said the Clinton campaign and the DNC were not aware that the law firm had hired Fusion GPS.
According to the Post’s sources, it is standard practice for campaigns to use law firms to hire outside researchers, so that the work receives attorney-client and work-product protections.
Anonymous sources told the Post that the Fusion GPS reports were provided to Elias. “It is unclear how or how much of that information was shared with the campaign and the DNC and who in those organizations was aware of the roles of Fusion GPS” and its researcher, according to the Post.
A DNC spokeswoman told the newspapers that chairman Tom Perez and the new leadership at the DNC “were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization.” Brian Fallon, a former Clinton campaign spokesman, said he never heard about any dossier until after the election.
Trump has denied the dossier’s alleged assertions that the Russian government had compromising information about Trump, and that the Russians were trying to help his presidential campaign.
The Perkins Coie letter was written in a legal battle regarding a congressional subpoena for Fusion’s bank records. The letter said Fusion GPS was being released from a duty of client confidentiality as it relates to the identity of the law firm. According to the letter, Fusion GPS was authorized to disclose it was hired by Perkins Coie “to assist in its representation” of the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election cycle.
Fusion GPS reportedly hired former British spy Christopher Steele to conduct the research after it was hired by the law firm. The Times described his allegations this way: “Mr. Steele produced a series of memos that alleged a broad conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 election on behalf of Mr. Trump. The memos also contained unsubstantiated accounts of encounters between Mr. Trump and Russian prostitutes, and real estate deals that were intended as bribes.”