Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into any possible role ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn may have played in a former GOP operative’s ad-hoc campaign to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
As the Journal previously reported, Republican activist Peter W. Smith cited Flynn’s consulting firm and son last fall in his outreach to cybersecurity experts and hackers whose help he sought in digging up the 33,000 emails Clinton deleted from her private server during the 2016 presidential campaign.
As Smith told the Journal in May, “We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government.”
Smith, who was 81 years old, committed suicide 10 days after his final interview with the Journal by asphyxiating himself at a hotel across from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He left behind a note saying there was no “foul play whatsoever” involved in his death.
According to the Journal’s latest reporting, Mueller’s crack team of prosecutors has been conducting interviews and collecting information to try to determine whether Flynn, his son Michael G. Flynn, or his consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, assisted Smith in his efforts.
In a recruiting document obtained by the Journal, Smith had said that campaign officials including Flynn, former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, and former campaign manager-turned-White House counselor Kellyanne Conway were working “in coordination” with him. Bannon and Conway told the newspaper they were unaware of and played no role in Smith’s efforts.
A lawyer for Flynn and a separate lawyer for his son declined the Journal’s request for comment, as did a spokesman for the special counsel.
Flynn is also under federal investigation for his well-compensated lobbying work on behalf of Turkey during the campaign, as well as his failure to disclose repeated contacts with Russian officials during the transition.