News & Politics

FACT CHECK: CNN's Jim Sciutto Falsely Claims 'Republicans' Funded Steele Dossier

Grabien screenshot of Jim Sciutto on CNN.

On Tuesday, CNN aired a segment about the notorious Steele dossier, the anti-Trump opposition research document compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele while he was working with Fusion GPS. CNN Newsroom anchor Jim Sciutto claimed the document “began as opposition research on Trump first funded by his Republican opponents.” The conservative-leaning team that first hired Fusion GPS for the research insisted none of their research ended up in the Steele dossier, however.

“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,” Washington Free Beacon Editor-in-Chief Matthew Continetti and Chairman Michael Goldfarb wrote in an October 2017 statement.

Continetti and Goldfarb proved adamant in their insistence that the Free Beacon never had any connection to the 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,” they added.

Even so, Sciutto clearly stated on CNN, “The dossier began as opposition research on Trump first funded by his Republican opponents and then Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey called him out on this claim. “Wow. Once again, [CNN]’s [Jim Sciutto] just falsely claimed that Republicans first funded the dossier,” Athey tweeted. “Yes, Republicans paid for opposition research. But it was not a part of the dossier. It’s an important distinction and not hard to get right.”

Responding to Athey, Sciutto shot back with a quote of the transcript. “See transcript: ‘The dossier began as opposition research on Trump 1st funded by his Republican opponents & then Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was then..Christopher Steele began to take part later compiling a series of raw intelligence leads which formed the 35-page document.'”

Even though the Washington Free Beacon first funded opposition research into the Trump campaign, Sciutto’s statement is false if none of the opposition research in the dossier was funded by the Washington Free Beacon. Yet Continetti and Goldfarb have consistently insisted that none of the research they paid for ended up in the Steele dossier.

Fusion GPS’s opposition research effort into Trump did indeed start with the Free Beacon, but as for the dossier itself, it began after the Beacon’s involvement.

Therefore, unless Continetti and Goldfarb are lying and Sciutto has some secret information he would like to reveal to the public, his statement remains false.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.