Hillary Clinton On Funding The Russia Dossier: "Serious People Understand" There's Nothing Wrong About It
Hillary Clinton insists there is nothing foul about the opposition research her campaign funded on her former opponent, President Donald Trump, which resulted in the infamous "Russia dossier." The former Secretary of State also went further, saying that more information about the FBI's investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government should have been made public before the election. During a Wednesday, Nov. 1, appearance on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Clinton addressed the funding of the Russia dossier when she asserted that there's a difference between the research her campaign funded and the idea of colluding with Russian.
Clinton told host Trevor Noah,
You know, I think most serious people understand that. This was research started by a Republican donor during the Republican primary, and then when Trump got the nomination for the Republican Party, the people doing it came to my campaign lawyer and said, you know, 'would you like us to continue it?' ... He said yes. He’s an experienced lawyer, he knows what the law is, he knows what opposition research is.
The Russian dossier is a 35-page report on Donald Trump that was composed by Christopher Steele, a former agent at MI6, the British equivalent of the CIA. Steele was hired by a Washington D.C.-based research firm called Fusion GPS, which itself paid by the Clinton campaign's legal representatives to conduct opposition research on Trump.
The dossier included salacious accusations about Trump and suggested a number of ties between him and the Russian government. The existence of the document was made public shortly before Trump took office in January, when reports confirmed that both Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama had been made aware of the dossier's contents.
A week prior to her appearance on The Daily Show, the Washington Post broke the story revealing that the Clinton campaign had been the source of funding for the research that eventually produced the Russian dossier. Days later, the Washington Examiner reported that the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news site, had been the original sources of Fusion GPS' research, before Christopher Steele had been hired.
After telling Noah that her campaign's funding of the opposition research was legal and, essentially, no big deal, Clinton pointed out what she really thought was a big deal. She told Noah,
From my perspective, [the dossier] didn’t come out before the election, as we all know. And what also didn't come out — which I think is an even bigger problem, as I write in the book — the American people didn’t even know that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign because of connections with Russia, starting in the summer of 2016.
Clinton later added, "the fact of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia should have come out."
Clinton also addressed the criticism of those who say she should stay out of the spotlight and "go away." The former secretary of state attributed that to criticism, in part, to sexism, while stating others genuinely desire to see new faces in the Democratic party.
She also pointed out that calls for her to fade away from the public eye is down to another factor:
Some of it, I will say, is media guilt. You know, when they now have to face the way they covered this campaign, and the fact that they didn't pay any attention to policies ... they were so totally entranced by the reality TV element of it and the entertainment value of it, that, I'm told — and, some members of the press have privately said to me — look, they missed it. They missed it. They thought I was gonna win, so they could beat up on me without consequence and they didn't really stand up against the ridiculous lies and accusations against me.
Clinton appeared on The Daily Show to promote her latest book, titled What Happened.