Well, this is the last twist anyone saw coming.
This has been a very bad week for Democrat partisans, thanks to the Washington Post’s bombshell report confirming that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee put up a portion of the money for that infamous Fusion GPS dossier filled with salacious, unproven, and false dirt on Donald Trump.
However, the Dems weren’t the only people behind it, and the originators have remained a mystery. Until today.
The Washington Examiner reports that lawyers for the original organization to first fund the research, which was later abandoned and picked up by the Democrats, have come clean about their role to the House Intelligence Committee. And that organization is … the conservative news website Washington Free Beacon?
The Free Beacon funded the project from the fall of 2015 through the spring of 2016, whereupon it withdrew funding and the project was picked up by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The original arrangement between the Free Beacon and Fusion GPS involved opposition research into multiple Republican candidates, not just front-runner Donald Trump.
Sources close to the Free Beacon stress that the project, when the Free Beacon funded it, had nothing to do with Russia and did not involve Christopher Steele, the former British spy who gathered anti-Trump dirt in Russia. Steele was retained by Fusion GPS when the project was funded by Democrats, and not in its initial phase, when the Free Beacon was involved.
WFB editor in chief Matthew Continetti and chairman Michael Goldfarb have issued a statement confirming this explosive revelation, and standing by their decisions:
[D]uring 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.
At Ace of Spades HQ, Ace is less than convinced by WFB’s defense, particularly noting that they don’t specify which candidates they did and did not commission opposition research on, and speculating why they chose Trump (and unspecified other targets) but not other GOP primary contenders:
Let me guess: Anyone who wasn’t favored by the Corporate Class? Like Ted Cruz, too, maybe?
Don’t forget: Operatives attempted a hit on Ted Cruz, too, alleging infidelity. I know most people think that was Donald Trump and his pet editor at the National Enquirer, but #SalonHot25 Twitter Nobody “The” Rick Wilson was trying to stoke media interest in what he coyly called “#TheThing” about Ted Cruz for months.
Good questions. Here are a couple more: how does the Free Beacon justify having kept their mouths shut for so long while this story has festered? And even accepting that opposition research itself isn’t necessarily underhanded (though doing it for only some of the politicians you’re covering certainly is), why would they turn to a Democrat, Planned Parenthood-aligned firm to conduct it?
This is a developing story and the fallout is only just beginning. Stay tuned to TFPP for many, many updates to come.