A chart available in a court filing associated with the recent decision by federal Judge Donald Middlebrooks to impose nearly $1 million in financial penalties on Donald Trump and his lawyer, Alina Habba, reveals that nearly $172,000 of what Trump is now responsible for paying is specifically for Hillary Clinton.
The funds, once paid, will cover attorneys’ fees she incurred in her defense against a lawsuit from Trump accusing her and others of perpetrating some kind of conspiracy to undermine his ultimately successful 2016 campaign for president with claims about his ties to Russia. Also on the list of the individuals and entities for whom Trump and Habba are obliged to provide funds under Middlebrooks’s order are the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Fusion GPS, both of which were listed alongside others in their rows. Fusion GPS is a private firm that was infamously involved in putting together what was eventually known as the Steele dossier, named after Christopher Steele, who more directly helmed its creation.
The materials contained allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia that were eventually revealed in media reports, including claims of the existence of a recording showing Trump with prostitutes at a hotel in Moscow. There has never been any conclusive evidence the tape exists. The claim’s presence in the dossier originates with Igor Danchenko, who here was providing info for Steele’s use but has also given information to federal authorities — and who was put on trial and acquitted on claims from Special Counsel John Durham of deception. Danchenko is also among those benefiting from the financial penalties on Trump and Habba. He is set to receive $23,749 to cover his costs. Danchenko and others prominently involved directly or more distantly with the work of Fusion GPS evidently did not themselves intend for the dossier to be made public, which was the work of media outlets.
Meanwhile, also on the list of those for whom Middlebrooks has ordered Trump and Habba provide funds for their legal fees are John Podesta and Robbie Mook, well-known figures in Democratic politics. Middlebrooks’s order specifies Trump and Habba are liable jointly and individually for the costs, evidently indicating that, no matter the precise source, they have to come up with the money between them. (Habba’s firm was also named.) Trump dropped a legal challenge in federal court against a lawsuit New York state Attorney General Letitia James filed over sweeping allegations of fraud at his business after Middlebrooks ordered the sanctions in this separate case, potentially sparking concern of further consequences in Trump’s circles.