Investigators in the House and Senate probing Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election are seeking information on a GOP operative who was actively searching for emails hacked from Hillary Clinton’s private email servers, CNN reports.
Longtime GOP activist Peter W. Smith was found dead in an apparent suicide just weeks after divulging his pursuits of Clinton’s emails to a Wall Street Journal reporter. House and Senate investigators reportedly want to know more of Smith’s operation, and his alleged ties to former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former chief strategist Steve Bannon, among other Trump loyalists.
According to the Journal, Smith implied he had ties to Flynn, and may have been working with him to obtain Clinton’s emails. A source told CNN Smith may have been working in tandem with the Trump campaign on opposition research.
The House panel has reportedly met with Matt Tait and Eric York, two former security analysts who worked with Smith and Smith’s former assistant Jonathan Safron.
Smith told the Journal his team found hackers who claimed to have 33,000 deleted emails, but they were unable to verify the contents.
“We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government,” Smith told the Journal shortly before his death. Smith died of apparent suicide in a hotel room in Rochester, Minnesota on May 14.