A longtime GOP operative claimed to be working with Michael Flynn when he reached out to hacker groups prior to the presidential election in an attempt to get emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton's private server, according to en exclusive report from the Wall Street Journal. “We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government,” Peter Smith told WSJ in an interview just 10 days before he died May 14 at the age of 81. The interview is believed to be Smith's only public comments on his search for the emails. Smith hired technology experts, lawyers, and an investigator who speaks Russian to aid him in his search.
At the time of Smith's search, Flynn was a senior adviser to Donald Trump. Smith implicated both Flynn and the Flynn Intel Group in his hunt for the emails, though it's unclear if Flynn was actually involved. A Trump campaign official says if Flynn was working with Smith, it was as a private citizen and not as a representative of the campaign. US officials say investigators have seen reports of Russian hackers talking about getting potential Clinton emails to Flynn through an intermediary. It's possible that intermediary was Smith. Smith said he actually did get some emails from hacker groups but couldn't verify their authenticity in order to leak them himself. Read the full WSJ report here. (Read more Michael Flynn stories.)