Key GOP Operative with Ties to Trump Campaign May Have Had 'Advance Knowledge' of WikiLeaks' Email Dumps: Report

The Wall Street Journal has doggedly pursued a strand of the Russa investigation that has largely flown under the radar as other avenues of investigation such as President Donald Trump's financial ties to Moscow and Paul Manafort's dealings in Ukraine garnered more attention. But a new report from the paper on Friday reveals that it not only the Journal that's been paying attention — Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has zeroed in on the curious case of GOP operative Peter Smith as well.


Smith, who died shortly before the Journal first began reporting on his actions in 2017, was conducting a wide-ranging effort in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election to track down Hillary Clinton's emails. Along the way, he developed a relationship with disgraced Trump campaign aide and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. 

And now, the Journal says there is evidence that could tie Smith to WikiLeaks' dispersal of stolen emails from Hillary Clinton's Campaign Chair John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

"Investigators also have evidence that the late GOP activist Peter W. Smith may have had advance knowledge of details about the release of emails from a top Hillary Clinton campaign official by WikiLeaks, one person familiar with the matter said," the Journal wrote.

The article also says that the investigators have pursued related lines of inquiry, including examining Trump ally Roger Stone's and conservative pundit Jerome Corsi's connections with WikiLeaks.

New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait explained the significance of these potential connections:

If true, this would mean that Smith wasn’t merely attempting to get ahold of stolen Clinton emails. He got through to WikiLeaks and was, in some form, a channel of collusion between the hackers and the Trump campaign.

Flynn long ago started cooperating with Robert Mueller. So if Flynn discussed any of this information with Trump during the campaign, the special counsel probably knows about it.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.