Report: Conservative News Outlet Hired Fusion GPS To Conduct Anti-Trump Research

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Conservative news organization, the Washington Free Beacon, hired Fusion GPS in 2015 to compile anti-Trump research, which eventually became the now-famous Trump dossier, The Washington Examiner reported Friday night.

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that an unknown Republican donor or organization had retained Fusion GPS during the Republican primary to begin compiling the research which was included in the Trump dossier.

Lawyers for the news outlet told the House Intelligence Committee that it was the conservative organization which initially hired Fusion GPS in 2015.

The Washington Free Beacon retained Fusion GPS from the fall of 2015 through the spring of 2016 when it ended funding for the research. In April of 2016, Marc Elias, a lawyer for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, retained Fusion GPS to compile anti-Trump research through the end of October.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC admit that they were aware that Elias had retained an organization for opposition research but deny that they knew it was Fusion GPS.

Sources told The Washington Examiner that the Free Beacon retained Fusion GPS to research several Republican presidential candidates, not just then-candidate Donald Trump, and denied that the project had anything to do with Russia or former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

In a statement the Washington Free Beacon denied that it knew the research would be used in the Trump dossier:

“Since its launch in February of 2012, the Washington Free Beacon has retained third party firms to conduct research on many individuals and institutions of interest to us and our readers. In that capacity, during the 2016 election cycle we retained Fusion GPS to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton. 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. The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele. Nor did we have any knowledge of the relationship between Fusion GPS and the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie, and the Clinton campaign.

Representatives of the Free Beacon approached the House Intelligence Committee today and offered to answer what questions we can in their ongoing probe of Fusion GPS and the Steele dossier. But to be clear: 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 First Amendment guarantees our right to engage in news-gathering as we see fit, and we intend to continue doing just that as we have since the day we launched this project.”

The Washington Free Beacon has never revealed its ownership, however several Republican donors, who were anti-Trump during the campaign, fund the news outlet.