- The Washington Times - Friday, October 27, 2017

A conservative website, the Washington Free Beacon, has admitted that during the 2016 election cycle it initially hired the political research firm which compiled the explosive anti-Trump dossier that alleged Mr. Trump had long-standing ties to the Kremlin. 

On Friday night the Free Beacon’s editor-in-chief and chairman acknowledged in a statement posted on its website that the firm hired Washington-based Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on several GOP presidential candidates, including Mr. Trump.

“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,” the statement said. “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.” 

Editor in chief Matthew Continetti added that the Free Beacon had “no knowledge of or connection to” the actual 35-page dossier or to the former British spy behind the document, Christopher Steele — who also shared some of his findings with the FBI after the bureau began probing possible Trump-Kremlin connections.

The dossier has played a major role in the overall Russian meddling saga that has gripped Washington all year with difficult questions about who paid for it sparking raging partisan battles.

Earlier this week reports surfaced that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton picked up the funding for Fusion GPS’ work after the GOP primary concluded. The DNC funding led to the hiring of Mr. Steele and the compilation of the salacious and largely disproved document — which Mr. Trump initially called “a pile of garbage.”

Reacting to news that Clinton and the DNC funded Fusion GPS, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter, “The real Russia scandal? Clinton campaign paid for the fake Russia dossier, then lied about it & covered it up.”

On Friday the Free Beacon said it hired Fusion GPS in October 2015 but stopped paying the firm in May 2016 after it became clear Mr. Trump would win the Republican party nomination, according to conversations between the firm and the House Intelligence Committee on Friday afternoon which were reported by the New York Times. 

“Representatives of the Free Beacon approached the House Intelligence Committee today (Friday) and offered to answer what questions we can in their ongoing probe of Fusion GPS and the Steele dossier,” The Free Beacon statement said. 

Reports also mentioned that the Free Beacon’s funding — which had previously been unknown — comes largely from hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer.

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