Although former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has remained a large focus of the Justice Department and Congressional investigations on Russia, he hasn’t been the focus of too many recent headlines. Yet the Wall Street Journal made sure Flynn is now front-and-center in the public eye going into the Fourth of July weekend. Their report details how a GOP operative — who implied that he was working on behalf of Flynn — discussed with Russian hackers (while Flynn was working as a Trump campaign foreign policy advisor) how to obtain Hillary’s emails.
The report is an eerie one, for the operative, Peter W. Smith, spoke with the WSJ about Flynn about 10 days before he passed away (the paper does not mention the cause of death). Smith described the email search in a manner that is reportedly consistent with what investigators — while working with U.S. intelligence documents — have uncovered regarding Russian election interference. These documents “describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary,” and the paper sources anonymous U.S. officials.
As for Smith, his interactions with the Russian hackers were corroborated by an on-record source by the Wall Street Journal:
“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?'” said Eric York, a computer-security expert from Atlanta who searched hacker forums on Mr. Smith’s behalf for people who might have access to the emails.
Emails written by Mr. Smith and one of his associates show that his small group considered Mr. Flynn and his consulting company, Flynn Intel Group, to be allies in their quest.
What isn’t clear to the Wall Street Journal (despite how they interviewed Smith) was whether Flynn was actually involved in this project to obtain Hillary’s emails from the hackers. Smith was a Republican opposition researcher, so it makes sense why he pursued these emails, and his campaign was an “independent” one, which says nothing about whether Flynn was a willing party, or if Smith simply floated his name. Flynn, of course, would not comment on this story to the WSJ.
If Flynn was truly working with Smith, then the actions described here could serve as evidence of collusion with Russia by a member of the Trump campaign. Naturally, a Trump campaign official has denied that Smith ever worked for the campaign, and further, that if Flynn did work with him, it had nothing to do with the campaign and must have been something that Flynn did “in his capacity as a private individual.” That is, a private individual who has invoked the Fifth Amendment for any testimony in the Senate, lied to the FBI and VP Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, and lobbied for Turkey during the election. A totally private individual.
(Via Wall Street Journal)