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Paying sources might also encourage them to embellish." According to British journalist Luke Harding, Steele's sources were not new: "They're not people that he kind of discovered yesterday.
They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas." The first memo, dated June 20, 2016, was sent to Washington by courier and hand-delivered to Fusion GPS.
The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump.
In October 2015, private investigative firm Fusion GPS was contracted by conservative political website The Washington Free Beacon to provide political opposition research against Trump.
For around six months – during the first half of the year – Steele was able to make inquiries in Russia with relative ease.
involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization." The Washington Post reported that it is not clear how much of the research Elias received from Fusion GPS he shared with the campaign and the DNC.
It is also not clear who in those organizations knew about the roles of Fusion GPS and Steele, but one person "close to the matter" said the organizations were "not informed by the law firm of Fusion GPS's role".
The opposition research conducted by Fusion GPS on Donald Trump was completed in two phases with separate funders.
The first research phase, from October 2015 to May 2016, was funded by The Washington Free Beacon.