Callum Borchers at WP:
The Washington Free Beacon disclosed in congressional testimony on Friday that it is the mysterious client that initially paid for opposition research on Donald Trump performed by Fusion GPS, the firm that later worked with a former British spy to produce a dossier of claims about ties between Trump and Russia.
Just three days earlier, the Free Beacon, a conservative news site founded in 2012, told its readers that before Democrats hired Fusion GPS in April 2016, the firm's work “was funded by an unknown GOP client while the primary was still going on."
The GOP client was not “unknown” — not to the Free Beacon, anyway. The site's feigned ignorance would have led any reasonable reader to conclude, wrongly, that it was not involved in the work of Fusion GPS.
Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti did not immediately respond to a Fix inquiry about his site's lack of disclosure. But he and Free Beacon chairman Michael Goldfarb posted a statement on the site Friday night, in which they said that the Free Beacon routinely “has retained third-party firms to conduct research on many individuals and institutions of interest to us and our readers.”Sharon Lafraniere and Andrew E. Kramer at NYT:
Natalia V. Veselnitskaya arrived at a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 hoping to interest top Trump campaign officials in the contents of a memo she believed contained information damaging to the Democratic Party and, by extension, Hillary Clinton. The material was the fruit of her research as a private lawyer, she has repeatedly said, and any suggestion that she was acting at the Kremlin’s behest that day is anti-Russia “hysteria.”
But interviews and records show that in the months before the meeting, Ms. Veselnitskaya had discussed the allegations with one of Russia’s most powerful officials, the prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. And the memo she brought with her closely followed a document that Mr. Chaika’s office had given to an American congressman two months earlier, incorporating some paragraphs verbatim.
The coordination between the Trump Tower visitor and the Russian prosecutor general undercuts Ms. Veselnitskaya’s account that she was a purely independent actor when she sat down with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Paul J. Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman.
It also suggests that emails from an intermediary to the younger Mr. Trump promising that Ms. Veselnitskaya would arrive with information from Russian prosecutors were rooted at least partly in fact — not mere “puffery,”as the president’s son later said.