By the time The Washington Post published old news like it was new news and reported that the DNC had paid for part of the opposition research that led to the infamous Trump dossier, a fact that had already been known and reported, congressmen investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election had already interviewed John Podesta and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In these interviews, CNN reports that they both said that they had no knowledge that the Clinton campaign and the DNC was paying for the opposition research.
Fusion GPS, an intelligence firm, had been hired by Republicans opposing Donald Trump in the Republican primary for opposition research. When it became clear that Trump would be the Republican nominee for president, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the DNC retained Fusion’s services. Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele, and his work was the driving force behind the Trump dossier, which asserted things like Russia was waging a campaign to interfere in the election (which is now accepted as fact) and that Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed that Barack Obama once slept in at a Moscow hotel (which is only probably fact).
Paying for opposition research is normal in a campaign cycle. What isn’t normal is when the heads of the two organizations that paid for the research claim that they had no knowledge of doing so. Podesta was in charge of the Clinton campaign, and said he didn’t know anything about a contract with Fusion GPS. Schultz said the same, and she was the chairwoman of the DNC at the time.
This could, of course, be true, but it would require both Podesta and Wasserman-Schultz to be unaware of a central part of their jobs. WaPo reports that Fusion GPS was retained by Perkins Coie, a law firm working for the Clinton campaign. It’s possible they did this without alerting Podesta or Schultz, though it seems unlikely. After all, how could they have been completely unaware of opposition research their respective organizations were paying for? Then again, why would they lie about this? What would they even stand to gain by saying that they didn’t know they were paying for it?
Either way, CNN reports that they might have to return to the congressional investigators to shed light on the matter.