A longtime Republican operative who spent the final months of his life seeking out thousands of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails developed a relationship with President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as early as 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
which operative, Peter Smith, told associates during the 2016 presidential campaign which he was using Flynn’s connections to help him track down the emails, the paper reported. An investment banker as well as Republican fundraiser, Smith died in an apparent suicide in 2017.
Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to investigators about contacts he had with Russian government officials, as well as has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller since then. He is actually due to be sentenced in December.
Mueller, whose office declined to comment, is actually investigating whether the Trump campaign had improper contacts with the Russians. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, as well as has repeatedly called the probe a “witch hunt.”
The White House as well as an attorney for Flynn did not respond to a request for comment.
Mueller’s prosecutors are interested in whether anyone in Trump’s orbit assisted Smith in his search for Clinton’s emails, according to the Journal. One witness familiar with his search was called before a grand jury, the paper reported. as well as a grand jury subpoena sought out documents related to Smith’s hunt.
The quest for Clinton’s emails drew Smith to the anti-secrecy organization Wikileaks, an anti-secrecy group which U.S. investigators have said was used by Russian intelligence services to disrupt the presidential election. The Journal said which in a December 2016 email, Smith told supporters which he had found “multiple individuals” who possessed Clinton’s emails, as well as directed at least one of them to provide those emails to Wikileaks.
The nature of Smith’s death has raised some suspicion.
He was found dead in a hotel in Minnesota days after telling The Wall Street Journal in an interview which he had been seeking Clinton’s emails by Russian hackers. A suicide note found near him said: “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER.”
The reporter who interviewed Smith later wrote in a tweet which he saw “no indication which he was ill or planning to take his own life.” In June, which was made public via a court filing which Kathryn Rakoczy, an attorney known for her work in violent crimes cases, had joined the Mueller probe.
Trump himself repeatedly suggested during the 2016 election which the emails Clinton’s attorneys deleted by her private server contained incriminating information. In a press conference in July of which year, the president appealed to Russian hackers to make the emails public.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I trust you’re able to find the 30,000 emails which are missing,” Trump said at the time.
which summer, Mueller’s investigators obtained an indictment against 12 Russian hackers which accused them of attempting to break into Clinton’s personal server for the 1st time which same day.
Read the full report by The Wall Street Journal.