WASHINGTON – The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative funded Web site by a major Republican donor, first hired the research firm that produced Democrats months later the salacious dossier describing the links between Donald J. Trump and the Russian government, announced Friday the website. partly by billionaire hedge fund New York Paul Singer, hired the firm, Fusion GPS, in 2015 to unearth detrimental information on several Republican presidential candidates, including Mr Trump. But The Free Beacon told the firm to stop researching Trump in May 2016, when Trump won the Republican nomination.
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the National Democratic Committee had begun paying the GPS Fusion in April for research that eventually became the basis of the record
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The Free Beacon informed the House Intelligence Committee Friday that he had kept l & # 39; company. This committee is part of a number of congressional committees investigating Russian attempts to disrupt the 2016 elections and there was collusion with Trump's associates.
The role of the site responds to one of the persistent mysteries. before the production of the file and its publication by BuzzFeed in January.
It has long been known that Fusion GPS was first hired by Republicans, but it was unclear who was the source of funding. This week, Trump and his allies seized the fact that the Democrats had paid the firm for the research as proof that the file was part of a campaign of political denigration
. Trump said on Wednesday that it was a "shame" that the Democrats had funded the record, calling it "a very sad commentary on politics in this country."
At the Heart of History is GPS Fusion, a Washington-based research firm founded by former Wall Street Journal employees. Little is known about the company's client list, and Republicans in Congress have urged the company and one of its founders, Glenn Simpson, to hand over documents on funding and the research that produced the file.
The editor, Matthew Continetti, and its chairman, Michael Goldfarb, said in a statement that the site was not involved in the case.
"All the work done by Fusion GPS at The Free Beacon was based on public sources., And none of the work products that The Free Beacon received appeared in the Steele folder," have they said. "The Free Beacon had no knowledge or connection with the Steele file, was not paying for the file, and had never had any contact, knowledge or payment for work done by Christopher Steele. "
The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee have selected Fusion GPS to search for all possible connections between Mr. Trump, his companies, his campaign team and Russia, the court records revealed this working for them, the company detained Christopher Steele, a respected former British intelligence officer.
He then produced a series of memos alleging a vast conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the he Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential elections. election on behalf of Mr Trump. The memos, known as the "Steele Record", also contained unsupported reports of meetings between Mr. Trump and Russian prostitutes, as well as real estate transactions intended to be corrupted.
Speculation circulated for months that Mr. Singer was involved in the case, but his allies had denied it. On Friday, a partner said that Mr. Singer was not aware of Mr. Steele's case or involvement in GPS Fusion research until January, when BuzzFeed published the record
. Singer was among the top Republican critics of Mr. Trump during the Republican presidential presidential race. Even after Singer's first choice, Florida's Senator Marco Rubio, dropped out of the race, Singer continued to fund efforts to block Trump's nomination.
The revelation of Free Fusion GPS involvement threatens a rapprochement between Mr. Trump and Mr. Singer, who donated $ 1 million to the president's inaugural fund and visited the White House on several occasions. After such a visit, Mr. Trump stated that Mr. Singer "was very involved with the anti-Trump or, as they say," Never Trump ", and Paul just left, and he gave us his support total and that's all Unification. "
Josh Levy, a lawyer representing GPS Fusion, said the questions about who funded Steele's work should be secondary to his credibility.
The Free Beacon has always used called opposition research firms to help in news articles critical of targets like Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. In their statement, Mr. Continetti and Mr. Goldfarb stated that "we are maintaining our reports, and we do not apologize for our methods."
Investigators working with several congressional committees and Special Advocate, Robert S. Mueller III, has deepened Mr. Steele's work in connection with investigations into relations between Russia and Mr. Trump and his associates, including their own. conspired to influence the election of last year.
The House Intelligence Committee came a few days before the deadline set by a federal judge for the Fusion GPS bank to respond to a committee summons for financial records that could have revealed who funded the folder.
Fusion GPS had filed a motion to block the assignment on the grounds that it would "irreparably damage" the business of the company and also "cool down" its rights to freedom of expression and those of "many others engaging in opposition"
During a conference call with representatives of Fusion GPS, the Committee and the bank, the judge seized of the case said that Fusion GPS customers had "expectation of confidentiality". that it was "not to say that the congressional committee has no interests that can override these confidentiality expectations."
The company's link with the Democrats was revealed in a letter from Matthew J. Gehringer, General Counsel of the Perkins Coie Law Firm. The letter stated that Fusion GPS had already conducted the search "for one or more other customers during the Republican primary contest," and had urged the first customers to give up their privacy "given the interest in this issue." Perkins Coie was paid $ 12.4 million to represent the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 race, according to the campaign finance filings, though most of that money went to compliance legal. 28 October 2017
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misinterpreted the position of Matthew J. Gehringer in the firm of Perkins Coie lawyers. He is the general council, not a managing partner.