Republican senator wants Democrats to testify on Trump dossier

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican member of the Intelligence Committee, said Democrats should be called again to testify about reports that their party and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign paid for parts of a dossier that detailed accusations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

The Washington Post reported last week that Marc Elias, a lawyer for 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Clinton, used campaign funds to hire Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier. Committees in both chambers of Congress have been investigating the origin and contents of the document.

John Podesta, who was Clinton's campaign chairman, and U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was the head of the Democratic National Committee at the time, as well as Elias “absolutely need to be recalled" to testify," Collins said in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation."

RELATED: Former British spy compiled dossier on Trump-Russia ties

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Former British spy compiled dossier on Trump-Russia ties
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Former British spy compiled dossier on Trump-Russia ties
A man enters the building housing the offices of Orbis Business Intelligence where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A camera man stands outside the building housing the offices of Orbis Business Intelligence where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A police car drives past an address which has been linked by local media to former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who has been named as the author of an intelligence dossier on President-elect Donald Trump, in Wokingham, Britain, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
People stand outside the building housing the offices of Orbis Buiness Intelligence (C) where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Journalists gather outside the headquarters of Orbis Business Intelligence, the company run by former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, on January 12, 2017 in London, England. Mr Steele has been named as the man who compiled the intelligence dossier on US President-elect Donald Trump, alleging that Russian security forces have compromising recordings that could be used to blackmail him. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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"It’s difficult to imagine that a campaign chairman, that the head of the DNC would not know of an expenditure of this magnitude and significance," Collins said. "But perhaps there’s something more going on here. But certainly, it’s worth additional questioning of those two witnesses. And the lawyer; absolutely, he more than anyone.”

It has been widely reported that supporters of Republican Jeb Bush, a primary opponent of Trump, initially paid for the firm's research. Perkins Coie, Elias' law firm, confirmed on Tuesday that it had hired Fusion GPS in April 2016.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online publication backed by billionaire Republican megadonor Paul Singer, said on Friday it was the original funder of the Fusion GPS project to compile opposition research on multiple Republican presidential candidates, including Trump.

RELATED: Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective

15 PHOTOS
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.
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Known as the Steele dossier because it was compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, the document identified Russian businessmen and others who U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of the Russian government.

Representative Trey Gowdy, a Republican who runs the House Oversight Committee, said in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" that he was more interested in whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Justice used the dossier in conducting their own probes.

"I don’t expect the (Democratic National Committee) to be objective," Gowdy said. "Almost by definition, opposition research is not objective.

"The next thing that House Intel is trying to find out is whether or not the U.S. government relied on it."

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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