A GOP researcher soliciting help before the 2016 presidential campaign in locating deleted emails that he thought Russian hackers may have obtained from Hillary Clinton's private email server claimed to be associated with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn but denied, as did the Trump campaign, that he was working for the campaign.
The late Peter W. Smith, who put together an investigative team that included researchers and attorneys, claimed to have uncovered five hacking groups who allegedly had Clinton's emails, although former FBI Director James Comey had said in 2016 there was no evidence that the private server had been hacked.
Shortly before his death in May, the 81-year-old Smith told the Wall Street Journal that he acted independently and did not explicitly say he was working with Flynn. But apparently the GOP operative left that impression. “He said, ‘I'm talking to Michael Flynn about this—if you find anything, can you let me know?'” the Journal quoted computer expert Eric York, who checked out hacker forums for Smith, as saying.