A report from the Wall Street Journal claims that a Republican researcher attempted to obtain hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign during the election, and that he believed Michael Flynn was tied to the effort. Peter W. Smith, the operative, died 10 days after speaking to the Journal about his claim.
The report said Smith implied to associates that Flynn was somehow associated with the attempt to obtain hacked emails. Flynn was a senior adviser to Trump at the time.
The Journal quoted Eric York, an Atlanta-area computer-security expert, who said Smith told him Flynn was interested in their efforts.
“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this—if you find anything, can you let me know?’” York told the Journal.
The White House declined comment on the story, while a Trump campaign official denied Smith ever worked for the campaign in any capacity and that Flynn would have been operating as a "private individual" if he had any contact with Smith.
Smith himself admitted he did not work for the Trump campaign.
In the interview with the Journal, Smith claimed he knew of five groups of hackers who said they had Clinton's emails, and of those he believed two were Russian sources. Smith was focused on obtaining the 33,000 deleted emails that were absent from those turned over to the State Department because they were of a "personal nature."
The Journal admits that Smith gave no evidence for his belief that the emails still existed and were in the possession of hackers. Smith was 81 years old when he died in May after speaking to the Journal.
Flynn resigned as the national security adviser to President Trump when it was discovered that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his meeting with a Russian ambassador. He has since been accused of also misleading U.S. officials about his various ties with foreign governments, including Russia and Turkey.