According to CNN, the former chair of Hillary Clinton‘s campaign, John Podesta, and the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, both denied to congressional investigators that they had any knowledge about the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.
The denials, allegedly stated during a private meeting with the congressional investigatory committee, preceded the publication of The Washington Post‘s bombshell report alleging that attorney Marc Elias, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, hired the opposition research firm which compiled the dossier.
The two former chairs’ denials to congressional investigators, points out CNN, “raise the stakes in their assertion that they knew nothing about the funding because it’s against the law to make false statements to Congress.”
To make the optics particularly bad for Podesta, when he issued his denial to investigators, the lawyer who commissioned Fusion GPS and thus the dossier was sitting right next to him. CNN reports:
Podesta was asked in his September interview whether the Clinton campaign had a contractual agreement with Fusion GPS, and he said he was not aware of one, according to one of the sources.
Sitting next to Podesta during the interview: his attorney Marc Elias, who worked for the law firm that hired Fusion GPS to continue research on Trump on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC, multiple sources said. Elias was only there in his capacity as Podesta’s attorney and not as a witness.
In the images above and below, Podesta can be seen accompanied by Elias coming out of a meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on June 27, a few months before his private interview with investigators in September.
CNN provides more details on the alleged Podesta and Schultz denials:
In recent closed-door interviews with the Senate intelligence committee, Podesta and Wasserman Schultz said they did not know who had funded Fusion GPS, the intelligence firm that hired British Intelligence Officer Christopher Steele to compile the dossier on Trump, the sources said.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz both privately denied to congressional Russia investigators that they had any knowledge about an arrangement to pay for opposition research on President Donald Trump, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
Elias’ law firm, Perkins Coie, confirmed in a letter this week that they did in fact retain Fusion GPS on behalf of both the Clinton campaign and the DNC, but the language of the letter leaves room for the possibility that neither knew the firm had done so.
As new details about the role the Clinton campaign and the DNC played in the creation of the scandalous and largely unverified dossier that kick-started the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative, the Democrats are finding themselves increasingly on the defensive. Several key players have denied any knowledge of the dossier, including the new leadership of the DNC, whose statement effectively threw the former DNC under the bus.
“Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization,” reads the statement. “But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.”
According to multiple reports, anonymous sources say that Hillary Clinton has also denied knowledge of the “dirty dossier.”