Oct 28, 2017

Conservative website hired Russian dossier firm first

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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,498,849 — Total deaths: 346,306 — Total recoveries — 2,233,180Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,662,768 — Total deaths: 98,223 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
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Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.

Novavax starts human trials for coronavirus vaccine

Novavax's Nita Patel with a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential coronavirus vaccine at the lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland in March. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Novavax began clinical trials of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in Australia on Tuesday, per a statement from the Maryland-based biotechnology firm.

The state of play: 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane will undergo injections as part of the study, the company’s research chief Gregory Glenn said during a briefing, per Australian Associated Press.