The New York Times reports: The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by a major Republican donor, was the first to hire the firm that conducted opposition research on Donald J. Trump — including a salacious dossier describing ties between Mr. Trump and the Russian government — website representatives told the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.
According to people briefed on the conversation, the website hired the firm, Fusion GPS, in October 2015 to unearth damaging information about several Republican presidential candidates, including Mr. Trump. But The Free Beacon told the firm to stop doing research on Mr. Trump in May 2016, as Mr. Trump was clinching the Republican nomination.
In April 2016, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee also retained Fusion GPS to research any possible connections between Mr. Trump, his businesses, his campaign team and Russia. Working for them, Fusion GPS retained a respected former British spy named Christopher Steele. [Continue reading…]