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Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Although it has been known that Republicans first hired the firm behind the Trump-Russia dossier, it wasn't known which Republican group hired them — until now. The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, hired Fusion GPS (the firm) in 2015 to collect damaging information on various Republican presidential candidates, per NYT. They reportedly told Fusion GPS to stop collecting research on Trump when it became clear he was going to become the party's nominee.

Why it matters: The Free Beacon's chairman told NYT they had nothing to do with the dossier that the firm ultimately produced. "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 said in a statement.

Don't forget: Fusion GPS has been in the news once already this week. Earlier, it was reported that Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid the firm to conduct research about Trump and his business dealings, which led to the dossier.

Big picture: Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe is certainly going to focus on the Trump-Russia dossier at some point. The Clinton-DNC news suggests that it was an attempt to discredit Trump, at least initially, and tied closely to her campaign. And The Free Beacon's New York hedge fund billionaire, Paul Singer, further complicates things with Trump: he has visited the White House and earlier he donated $1 million to the Trump's inaugural fund.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Trust in federal coronavirus response surges

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Trust surged in the federal government since President Biden's inauguration when it comes to COVID-19 — but that's almost entirely because of Democrats gaining confidence, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Americans reported the biggest improvement in their mental and emotional health since our survey began last March, and the highest trust levels since April about the federal government providing them accurate virus information and looking out for their best interests.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

8 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.