Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden is the least electable candidate — here's why Top Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann lands book deal Trump to appear on 'Meet the Press' for first time as president MORE asserted Thursday evening that he did not know beyond news reports that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Trump says he's not prepared to lose in 2020 MORE's campaign had paid for research that led to a dossier of unverified allegations about President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE's ties to Russia.

"When did you learn that the [Democratic National Committee] DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign had funded Christopher Steele's work?" Fox News anchor Brett Baier asked Comey on "Special Report," referring to the dossier compiled by Steele, a former British spy.

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"I still don't know that for a fact," Comey responded. "I've only seen it in the media. I never knew exactly which Democrats had funded. I knew it was funded first by Republicans."

"That's not true," Baier interjected, referring to funding by Republicans.

"My understanding is that his work started ... as oppo research funded by Republicans," Comey maintained, adding the activity was "then picked up by Democrats opposed to Donald Trump."

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication, confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee in October that it originally funded the Trump project through the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. 

The project until that point had focused on researching multiple Republican presidential candidates and was not looking at collusion with Russia, the Free Beacon said.

The Free Beacon maintained that none of the work product it received from Fusion GPS appeared in the dossier and the publication said it did not pay for any work performed by Steele, suggesting he became involved after the publication stopped funding the project.

The unverified dossier compiled by Steele contains salacious details about Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant. 

Democrats argue the dossier provides a framework into Trump's alleged ties to Russia, while Republicans say the document is politically motivated.