The Republican operative who committed suicide after speaking to the Wall Street Journal died of asphyxiation and left an all-caps handwritten note that insisted there was “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER” involved in his death, said CNN on Friday.
Peter Smith, 81, a longtime Republican operative and powerful conservative mega-donor told Journal reporter Shane Harris how he worked with ousted National Security Adviser Mike Flynn in an effort to coordinate with Russian hackers and obtain information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Ten days later, Smith was found dead in his hotel room near the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, MN under what appear to be suspicious circumstances.
Officials now say that Smith left behind a road map of documents and the suicide note. The Republican activist said in his note that he was in ill health and that he was about to lose his insurance coverage and therefore decided to end his life. The coroner’s report said that Smith pulled a plastic bag over his head and piped in helium gas until he expired.
Harris told CNN that it’s unclear at this point the extent to which Flynn and Smith were working on the Russian hacking project together or whether Flynn had brought Smith’s activities to the attention of the Trump 2016 campaign. However, there is “no doubt that these men knew each other,” Harris said.
He also said that Smith showed no signs of illness during their interviews less than two weeks before his death.
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