Reported by Monica Showalter | November 2, 2017
Fusion GPS, the Washington “opposition research” smear firm, produced its salacious “dossier” on President Trump on the cheap, paying only $168,000 to an oddly-chosen British subcontractor to falsely depict Trump as a “golden showers” pervert in Moscow hotel rooms.
It’s cheap given the large amounts of money that changed hands from the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign and President Obama’s Organizing for Action, all of which paid the same Washington lawyers at Perkins Coie for their efforts to beat Trump during the election. Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS to produce the dossier and obscured its payments through attorney-client privilege.
It’s expensive when you consider that what it paid for in the “dossier” is worthless information, a collection of lies that any Trump hater could have made up for free.
Reuters, however, is crowing that President Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about in the scope of how much money changed hands for it:
In an Oct. 29 message posted on Twitter, President Trump said the dossier had cost as much as $12 million, without providing evidence.
“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?),….” Trump tweeted.
Actually, there’s plenty of “evidence” about the $12 million that changed hands in the production of the document – and it can be found hiding out in the front pages of the Washington Post:
The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015 — though it’s impossible to tell from the filings how much of that work was for other legal matters and how much of it related to Fusion GPS.
Add to it President Obama’s still functioning campaign organization, Organizing for Action adding another $972,000 to Perkins Coie’s pot and it’s pretty obvious the amount that went to the commissioners of the dossier was fairly close to $12 million. Other news accounts do have the DNC payments at closer to $5 million, which would put the amount paid even closer to the $12 million mark.
Reuters doesn’t seem to grasp that money for the dossier changed hands through a chain of payments, starting with the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign organization and Organizing for Action. Their $10 million-plus cash went to Perkins Coie, the law firm, and some of that was then was passed on to Fusion GPS, which then passed a lesser amount on to Orbis Business Intelligence, the British opposition research firm. Orbis employee Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 officer, commissioned his Kremlin-linked intelligence contacts to construct the dossier for likely a lesser amount still. The Russian operatives then produced a badly written dossier that was a nest of lascivious lies, just as their client wanted. After that, the dossier made its way to John McCain, Buzzfeed, the FBI and anyone else who was later found to be passing the phony dossier around.
What’s striking here is how that money for the dossier diminished so quickly.
How much did Fusion GPS take in from Perkins Coie, and how much did it keep for itself at a handsome profit? Did it really gauge its Democratic Party clients good, telling them what they wanted to hear at relatively little cost? How much of the cash from Perkins Coie was spent on other possible “opposition research” projects we still don’t know about?
One event that will shed light on this is that after a long delay, the FBI has agreed to give House congressional investigators access to their billing records.
It was something the FBI had been resisting, claiming it would interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s own investigation. Now these records, showing payments, will soon be available, and will cast light on how much Fusion GPS took in for its smear operations. Perhaps we will learn more about what the smear operations really did.