A conservative news website funded by hedge fund billionaire and political megadonor Paul Singer was the first entity to contract a research firm to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump—leading to the infamous dossier containing unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia.
The Washington Free Beacon notified the House Intelligence Committee on Friday that it had paid the research firm Fusion GPS to conduct intelligence-gathering on “multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton,” the site’s editor and chairman explained in a statement on their website.
After Trump won the Republican nomination, funding for Fusion GPS’s research was provided by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. That research included work by former British spy Christopher Steele, whose report includes claims about collusion between Trump and Russia. The Free Beacon claims they had no connection to the Steele dossier or Steele himself.
The special counsel investigating the Trump-Russia case, Robert Mueller, has reportedly relied of some of the Steele dossier’s findings.
Singer, a longtime Republican political donor who is also a key supporter of conservative Jewish groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition, was a supporter of the Marco Rubio campaign and was a harsh critic of Trump as a candidate, claiming that Trump’s policies were “close to a guarantee of a global depression, widespread global depression.”
But Singer soon changed his tune, donating $1 million toward Trump’s inauguration and frequently meeting with the president in the White House.