After two separate reports from both the New York Times and theWashington Post, it's now known who paid for research that resulted in the now-infamous "Russia dossier" on President Donald Trump: Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the Times reported that a spokesperson for a law firm said it had hired researchers on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, essentially confirming that the 35-page report containing Russia info on Trump was paid for by Democrats. The Washington Post first to report that the Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the research.
On Tuesday night, less than an hour after the Post published its story, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared the article on Twitter, calling the Clinton and DNC funding, "the real Russia scandal." Sanders wrote,
The real Russia scandal? Clinton campaign paid for the fake Russia dossier, then lied about it & covered it up.
The following morning, President Donald Trump tweeted about the news while quoting an apparent view from a Fox News show on the matter. Trump tweeted,
"Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President." @FoxNews
Sanders and Trump's hailing of the reports on Clinton and the DNC come despite their history of repeatedly denying the credibility of both the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Trump has called both papers "failing" and "fake news." Meanwhile, hours before the Post published its latest reporting on the dossier, Sanders told reporters,
As I’ve said many times before, I wouldn’t use the Washington Post as my source.
Sanders would, of course, later go on to use the Washington Post as her source when she tweeted a link to the paper's reporting.
After the press secretary was called out on the contradictory discrediting-then-sharing of the Post, she responded with a link to a scene from Dumb and Dumber.
What Was In The Trump Russia Dossier?
The "Trump dossier" is a 35-page report — compiled by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele — that contained several allegations about ties between Donald Trump and the Russian government, including one very salacious claim.
The dossier asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been "cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years." When the existence of the dossier was first reported back in January, the story prompted scrutiny over whether Trump had used the aid of Russian government to help the progress of his presidential campaign.
A former spokesman for Clinton's campaign, Brian Fallon, told the Washington Post that he didn't know the research was funded by the campaign, but also told the paper that it was not surprising.
The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election. 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.
Funding "opposition research" is, in fact, a common practice. One sign that's indicative of how common it is? The fact that the researched that resulted in the Trump dossier was first funded by a Republican opponent of Trump's during the GOP primaries, the Post reports.
The identity of that Republican hasn't been confirmed in any reporting. The identity of the Democrats who paid for the research, however, has been revealed. Both the Clinton campaign and the DNC helped fund research that resulted in the Trump dossier.