Before he died in May, a longtime Republican operative, Peter W. Smith, told The Wall Street Journal during an interview that last fall he gathered together a small group of researchers and attorneys in an attempt to track down emails he thought had been stolen from Hillary Clinton's private server, possibly by Russian hackers.
A computer security expert named Eric York told WSJ that when Smith asked him to work on the project, he implied Michael Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to Donald Trump's campaign, was involved. "He said, 'I'm talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?'" York said. Smith told WSJ he knew Flynn, but did not say if he was part of the group; Flynn did not respond to a request for comment. Emails written by Smith and one of his associates show that their group considered Flynn and the business he started in 2014, Flynn Intel Group, to be connections, and an anti-Clinton research document put together by Smith and his crew mentioned that Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, was associated with the effort, WSJ reports.
U.S. officials with knowledge of the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election told WSJ that U.S. investigators have looked at reports from intelligence agencies that say Russian hackers were talking about ways to obtain emails from Clinton's server and get them to Flynn through an intermediary. An unidentified computer expert told WSJ that based on his conversations with Smith, he understood that the elder Flynn was working with Smith in his capacity as a member of the Trump campaign.
Smith revealed that he found five different groups of hackers who said they had Clinton's deleted emails, and two were most likely tied to the Russian government. He was never able to authenticate the batch of emails they sent him, Smith said, so he told the hackers to send them to WikiLeaks so they could leak them; WikiLeaks did not publish the documents Smith saw or claim to have the emails. Read the entire report at The Wall Street Journal.