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A New Report Just Blew Up a Hole In Trump’s Claim Blaming Clinton For Russia Dossier

A new report by NPR has revealed that a conservative news website, The Washington Free Beacon, actually hired the political research firm that later produced a dossier of explosive information about Donald Trump’s Russia ties.

The firm, Fusion GPS, commissioned former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who went on to produce what’s been called the “Steele dossier.”

As NPR’s Philip Ewing explained, the dossier “describes a concerted effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to cultivate a relationship with Trump and his camp.”

“The document describes information provided by Russian government and other sources and details behavior by Trump that could leave him open to blackmail, as well as alleged secret meetings between Trump aides and Russian officials called to discuss the campaign against Clinton and potential new business relationships.”

Trump has denied the claims made in the dossier. “It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with [Hillary Clinton]!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

But several news reports have supported “the most damning aspect of the dossier”: Trump associates did have contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign,” NPR reports.

In a statement posted Friday evening, the Free Beacon’s Editor in Chief Matthew Continetti and Chairman Michael Goldfarb wrote that they hired the political research firm 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.

After initially being hired by Trump’s Republican primary opponents, Fusion GPS continued its work, but for Democrats, The Washington Post reported earlier this week.

According to the newspaper, Marc Elias, a lawyer who represented Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, hired the firm in April 2016 to continue the opposition research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day. But the firm was initially hired by the conservative website.

Continetti and Goldfarb say people representing the Free Beacon offered on Friday to provide the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting multiple investigations into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, with answers to questions it may have surrounding Fusion GPS and the Steele dossier.

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