Journalist pay questioned in Russian dossier court cases



The role of reporters is taking on added importance in federal court battles over the infamous Russia dossier that leveled unverified charges of collusion against the Donald Trump campaign.

In U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Fusion GPS, the dossier?s financier via the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign money, is fighting a House committee chairman?s bid to find out if the opposition research firm paid journalists.

In U.S. District Court in Florida, a self-described dossier victim wants a judge to order the news website BuzzFeed, which published the dossier in full, to disclose who gave it to them.

The cases underscore how a Moscow-sourced memorandum created as opposition research against Donald Trump in the presidential campaign last year often dictates the debate about politics and reporters? rights in Washington.

Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, signed a subpoena to force a bank to turn over Fusion?s financial records. He wants to know who paid for the dossier, which was written in a series of 18 memos by former British spy Christopher Steele. He relied almost exclusively on unidentified Kremlin sources.

Fusion went to federal court to block the move, but the law firm Perkins Coie LLP, whose partner Marc E. Elias is the Clinton?s campaign?s general counsel, intervened. It filed a letter acknowledging it had paid Fusion for the dossier on behalf of Democrats. Fusion and Mr. Nunes then worked out an agreement on access to some of the firm?s financial records.

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