Conservative site funded Fusion GPS anti-Trump project before Steele dossier – report
The Washington Free Beacon paid Fusion GPS for opposition research of then-candidate Donald Trump, before the project reportedly transitioned into a dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC alleging collusion between Trump and Russia.
Washington Free Beacon lawyers told the House Intelligence Committee Friday that the conservative journalism website was the original financial backer of the opposition research that later grew into a salacious dossier, the Washington Examiner reported.
Sources told the Examiner the Free Beacon paid Fusion GPS for opposition research against Trump from the fall of 2015 to the spring of 2016. Russia, however, was reportedly not a part of that research, and the work was not done by the former British spy Christopher Steele. The Brit later took up the Fusion GPS project in the spring, as funding was taken over by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Steele had experience in Russia; and traveled there to compile the now infamous dossier alleging collusion between Trump and the Russians.
Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that Marc Elias, a lawyer representing Hillary for America, funded the Trump-Russia dossier from April to October 2016, after a Republican-backed source had begun the opposition research.
While various media reports had long alleged an initial Republican backer and an eventual Democratic one as well, this week’s reports named names. Many on the political left, including Clinton associates and elected officials, reacted to the news of Clinton’s ties to the dossier as inconsequential or even non-newsworthy.
On Friday, many on the political right expressed outrage with the Free Beacon for its role in the controversy, as well as its subsequent reporting, which never told the truth of its own involvement.
The Free Beacon’s editor-in-chief, Matthew Continetti, admitted to the news site’s role in the matter, but claimed that none of the work done under their deal ended up in the Trump-Russia dossier.
“All of the work that Fusion GPS provided to the Free Beacon was based on public sources, and none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier,” Continetti wrote.
“We stand by our reporting, and we do not apologize for our methods. We consider it our duty to report verifiable information, not falsehoods or slander, and we believe that commitment has been well demonstrated by the quality of the journalism that we produce,” the editor-in-chief said.