The lawyer who hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS – which was instrumental in the Trump-Russia narrative – on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign is now working for Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
Marc Elias of the Perkins Coie law firm joined the Harris team earlier this year as general counsel, the same position he held on Clinton’s campaign, the Washington Examiner reports. While working for Clinton, Elias paid Fusion GPS to dig up damaging material on then-candidate Donald Trump, which provided much of the basis for the discredited Trump-Russia scandal that would dominate US news cycles for over two years.
After being contacted by Elias, Fusion GPS paid retired British intelligence officer Christopher Steele some $168,000, according to CBS News, to collect information on Trump from his supposed Russian connections and create a “dossier.”While the Steele document was largely based on unsubstantiated rumors attributed to nameless sources, the dossier was disseminated to media outlets – helping to propel the Trump-Russia story in American political discourse – and was also used by the FBI to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants targeting former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page.
At least two watchdog groups have filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission alleging the Clinton campaign, through Elias, acted improperly when hiring the private intelligence firm.
A 2017 FEC complaint from the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center argues the Clinton campaign “failed to accurately disclose the purpose and recipient of payments for the dossier of research alleging connections between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia,” which effectively hid the payments from public scrutiny and violated federal law.
In another complaint filed last year, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a conservative non-profit, said Clinton’s campaign “conspired” with foreign nationals in hiring Steele. Hoping to force a ruling on its complaint, the foundation also filed a lawsuit in a DC District Court in May, which is still in the process of litigation.
“[Hillary for America] and the DNC paid Christopher Steele, a foreign national, to generate the Steele dossier, based primarily on lies and fabrications,” the foundation’s lawsuit states.
No less than three official probes have been launched into the conduct of the FBI and Department of Justice in relation to the Trump-Russia investigation and the 2016 election. US Attorney John Durham, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and US Attorney John Huber have each been separately tasked with “investigating the investigators.”As of yet, none of the investigations have produced any conclusions.