GOP operative Peter Smith reportedly reached out to several questionable characters in his independent quest to find the emails he believed had been stolen from Hillary Clinton's private email server, including Russian hackers and alt-right activists, Politico reports. Although Smith died in May at the age of 81, his search for Clinton's emails remains of serious interest in the investigation into whether Russia worked with U.S. agents to swing the election in favor of President Trump.
Former Breitbart reporter Charles Johnson, who was banned from Twitter for threatening a Black Lives Matter activist, and Johnson's former business partner, Pax Dickinson, aided Smith in his hunt. "[Smith] wanted me to introduce him to [Stephen] Bannon, to a few others, and I sort of demurred on some of that," Johnson told Politico. "I didn't think his operation was as sophisticated as it needed to be and I thought it was good to keep the campaign as insulated as possible."
But Johnson didn't write Smith off, either:
"The magnitude of what he was trying to do was kind of impressive," Johnson said. "He had people running around Europe, had people talking to Guccifer." (U.S. intelligence agencies have linked the materials provided by "Guccifer 2.0" — an alias that has taken credit for hacking the Democratic National Committee and communicated with Republican operatives, including Trump confidant Roger Stone — to Russian government hackers.) [Politico]
Smith's efforts were ultimately unfruitful but "paint a picture of a determined but ill-equipped activist casting about far and wide in a frantic but ultimately futile quest to get ahold of Clinton's deleted emails and publish them ahead of Election Day," Politico adds. Read the full story here.