Today’s Wall Street Journal carries a big story in the Russia hoax genre. Reported by Byron Tau, Dustin Volz and Shelby Holliday, the story runs under the headline GOP Operative Secretly Raised at Least $100,000 in Search for Clinton Emails” (accessible here on Outline. Here are the opening paragraphs:
A veteran Republican operative and opposition researcher solicited and raised at least $100,000 from donors as part of an effort to obtain what he believed to be emails stolen from Hillary Clinton, activities that remain of intense interest to federal investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and on Capitol Hill.
Peter W. Smith, an Illinois businessman with a long history of involvement in GOP politics, sought and collected the funds from at least four wealthy donors as part of the plan to obtain Mrs. Clinton’s stolen emails from hackers just weeks before election day in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Smith’s effort to find what he believed were some 33,000 deleted emails Mrs. Clinton said were personal was first reported by the Journal in a 2017 story, but the extent of his planning went far beyond what was previously known. Mr. Smithdied 10 days after describing his efforts to a reporter for the Journal newspaper.
The documents and people familiar with the matter depict a veteran political operative with access to wealthy donors and deep connections in Republican politics on a single-minded quest to find incriminating information about Mrs. Clinton even after government officials warned of Russian involvement in U.S. politics. People familiar with the investigations described Mr. Smith’s activities as an area of expanding interest.
The story labors to imply a Russian connection and a link to the Trump campaign: “The focus from investigators on Mr. Smith’s quest to obtain Mrs. Clinton’s emails may be especially significant because Mr. Smith had implied in conversations with people in his circle and others he tried to recruit to help that he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, the Journal has reported.”
Unfortunately, one has to read the whole thing. The story includes trips to the grand jury by friends of the late Mr. Smith, who died by his own hand in Rochester, Minnesota. The Russian connection is not obvious, nor is any illegal activity on the part of Smith and his friends.
The Steele Dossier seems to have undergone a mysterious disappearance. Indeed, the story belies the “collusion” scenario. That too has undergone a mysterious disappearance. If only Mr. Smith had obtained a set of the deleted Clinton emails, he would have performed a public service. What is happening here?
UPDATE: Tom Lipscomb had a useful backgrounder on Peter Smith here at Gateway Pundit this past August.