Republican Operative Takes Own Life In Rochester

Aaron Brown
July 15, 2017

Peter Smith killed himself days after he was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal where he claimed to be working with Russian hackers to retrieve some 33,000 deleted Clinton emails and pass them to Michael Flynn, a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump. Smith, who'd spent his career directing private equity firms, was 81 years old, and amongst a "carefully prepared file of documents", police found a suicide note explaining that he was ill and his life insurance policy of $5 million was set to run out.

"The committee will want to speak with or get documents from everybody associated with the Peter Smith operation", a source close to the committee told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday.

A medical examiner's report listed the cause of death as "asphyxiation due to displacement of oxygen in confined space with helium".

Some 10 days earlier, he had told Wall Street Journal reporter Shane Harris about his efforts to secure emails that were deleted from Clinton's server, which included contact with what he believed were Russian hackers.

The hotel in Rochester, Minnesota where Smith was staying is known to be frequented by Mayo Clinic patients, but a spokeswoman did not confirm to the Tribune if Smith had been a patient there. Smith's former associates said he was suffering from health issues and frequently complained of heart problems.

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Police reports confirmed tanks of helium were found in the room, as well as receipts for a nearby Walmart where Smith purchased "Helium Jumbo". Smith told the Journal he had found several hacker groups, including two from Russian Federation, who claimed to have access to the emails, but he was unable to confirm their authenticity.

The newspaper said it was not clear whether Flynn played any role in Smith's attempts to find Clinton's emails.

He also implied he was working with Mike Flynn, the disgraced former General Trump made his national security adviser before he was forced to resign. Smith told The Journal that although he knew Flynn, he never said whether Flynn was involved.

The new details emerged after Smith's piece in the Journal stated he was convinced emails missing from Clinton's server were in the hands of hackers.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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