News & Politics

Uh-Oh. Podesta Says Hillary Knew About Trump Oppo Research That Ended Up in Steele Dossier

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2016 file photo, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta speaks to members of the media outside Clinton's home in Washington. New evidence appears to show how hackers earlier this year stole more than 50,000 emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, an audacious electronic attack blamed on Russia’s government and one has resulted in embarrassing political disclosures about Democrats in the final weeks before the U.S. presidential election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

According to recently unsealed testimony, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, told the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 that both he and Hillary Clinton were aware that her campaign had purchased opposition research on Donald Trump, hoping to uncover ties between him and Russia during the 2016 election.

Podesta’s testimony is “the most direct acknowledgment about what Donald Trump’s opponent knew in real-time about the effort that ultimately became known as the Steele dossier,” notes John Solomon of Just The News. According to Podesta, Hillary likely didn’t know specifically that Fusion GPS or former British spy Christopher Steele were involved in the opposition research effort, but they were both aware of the effort.

Here’s the exchange according to the transcript.

DR. WENSTRUP: Did Mrs. Clinton or anybody else with the campaign ever talk to you about opposition research and who you might hire?

MR. PODESTA: No. I think she was — she knew that we had an .- we had an opposition research staff in-house. We — the campaign directly purchased some opposition research. And she knew I think in general terms that we were trying to figure out, which was not easy, what Mr. Trump’s financial relationships were, what his relationships might be to Russia and other former Soviet Union actors that, you know—but I don’t—I don’t think we—I mean, she wasn’t—you know, if I wasn’t, she certainly wasn’t sort of saying, “Who are your vendors?”

Podesta claimed that he only learned that the effort “was funded through the law firm Perkins Coie and the costs for Fusion and Steele’s research were split 50-50 between the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign” after the election.

Christopher Steele previously testified that he was told by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson that Hillary Clinton and those running her campaign were aware of his research.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis