Law firm at center of discredited Trump dossier hired by U of M

The University of Minnesota has hired the law firm at the center of the controversy over the discredited Trump dossier. Perkins Coie, a Seattle-based law firm, will be overseeing a university investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by a former Gophers assistant men’s hockey coach from the mid-eighties, according to the Star Tribune.

Perkins Coie and the firm’s superstar partner Marc Elias billed the Clinton campaign and Democratic party for millions of dollars of fees during the 2016 campaign. (Elias represented Al Franken’s 2008 senate campaign in the successful recount against Sen. Norm Coleman).

But Perkins Coie’s role in the evolution of the Trump dossier only came to light a year later in a Washington Post expose. It turns out the firm not only hired and paid for the opposition research firm that compiled the debunked dossier but also took possession of it.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

…Fusion GPS gave Steele’s reports and other research documents to Elias, the people familiar with the matter said.

The disclosure led to searing criticism of the way Elias and Perkins Coie had handled media inquiries on issues related to the dossier in The Hill.

The New York Times senior White House correspondent Maggie Haberman and reporter Kenneth Vogel are slamming Hillary Clinton‘s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), saying they lied about funding for the so-called Trump dossier.

“When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong,’ ” Vogel tweeted, referring to Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias.

The controversy hasn’t gone away. Elias and Perkins Coie are among the defendants recently named in a lawsuit by former Trump adviser Carter Page. The headline in the National Law Journal reads: “Carter Page Suit Puts Fresh Spotlight on Perkins Coie, Marc Elias Over Trump Dossier.”

Perkins Coie’s close relationship to the DNC, and its role in hiring private investigation firm Fusion GPS to undertake opposition research on Trump, has made the firm an unlikely household name and frequent conservative punching bag since the election. In his lawsuit, Page claims the DNC, Perkins Coie and its partners—political law practice chair Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann—defamed him through the so-called “Steele dossier” produced by Fusion GPS.

A previous suit Page filed against Perkins Coie, Elias and Sussmann was dismissed due to questions over the venue in Oklahoma. The law firm predicted the current case will also be tossed out.

A Perkins Coie spokesperson expressed similar sentiments in his own statement: “This complaint recycles allegations by Carter Page that were dismissed by a federal judge in Oklahoma last year, and we expect that this latest lawsuit will likewise be dismissed.

Perkins Coie has been previously hired by at least one other university to investigate allegations in an athletic department.