GOP Activist Seeking Clinton Emails Who Claimed To Rep Flynn Committed Suicide

Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for National Security advisor gets in an elevator at Trump Tower, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

Peter W. Smith, the Republican operative who sought to obtain and publicize emails he thought were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, committed suicide days after he told a reporter about his efforts, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday night, citing a Minnesota state death record filed in Olmsted County, that Smith killed himself on May 14 days after he talked to the Wall Street Journal about his hunt for Clinton’s emails. That account was also included in a medical examiner’s report and a Rochester police report, according to the Tribune.

Smith left a statement police referred to as a suicide note, according to the report, in which he said there was “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER” involved in his death.

According to the Tribune, Smith cited a downturn in his own health and an expiring life insurance policy in the note. He died at the Aspen Suites in Rochester, which the report characterized as a “hotel used almost exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives.”

The Wall Street Journal in June reported that Smith contacted hackers in hopes of gaining access to a trove of emails he believed was hacked from Clinton’s server and claimed he had ties to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Smith told the Journal that he was unable to authenticate the emails several hacker groups offered him, and therefore “told all the groups to give them to WikiLeaks.”

According to the report, Smith spoke to the Journal 10 days before his death.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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