The House Intelligence Committee acknowledged that it had received a statement from the Washington Free Beacon about its funding of an anti-Trump opposition research project with Fusion GPS — the same effort that ultimately paved the way for the so-called "Trump dossier"
"The Washington Free Beacon has issued a statement asserting that it had no involvement with Christopher Stele or the dossier he compiled from Russian sources," a House intelligence panel spokesman said in a statement Friday night. "The Beacon has agreed to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee to help the Committee verify this information."
The Washington Examiner broke the news earlier Friday evening that the conservative news outlet was the original funder of Fusion GPS's anti-Trump opposition research project.
However, sources close to the Free Beacon said that it had no direct involvement with the hiring of Christopher Steele, the former British spy who gathered anti-Trump dirt in Russia, which was put into Trump dossier. Steele, however, was retained by Fusion GPS when the opposition research project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee from April up until right before the 2016 election.
The Free Beacon also published a statement Friday, from editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti and chairman Michael Goldfarb, admitting that they "retained third party firms to conduct research on many individuals and institutions of interest to us and our readers."
Continetti and Goldfarb added they did not pay for or have any knowledge of the Trump dossier, but also did not apologize for their organization's reporting "methods."
The House Intelligence Committee is running one of a handful of congressional probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election, alongside the federal investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.