Smith defended Trump, attacked Russia investigation as “tinfoil hat” conspiracy theory on personal blog
Peter W. Smith, the Republican operative who was trying to obtain Clinton emails from hackers, kept a blog until shortly before he ended his life, where he strenuously defended President Donald Trump and the Republicans from allegations about the Russia investigation.
On the day before Smith committed suicide in a Rochester, Minnesota hotel room, he posted, “Three Agencies, Not 17, Behind Russian Interference Allegations.” The post calls the Russia investigation “just part of the Democratic storyline that Hillary Clinton had the election stolen from her by Russian interference” and criticizes the directors of the FBI, CIA, and NSA as “all are suspect in terms of their credibility.”
It was one of eight blog posts Smith wrote defending Trump from Russian interference-related allegations or raising questions about the investigation between the day of the election and the day of his death. Other blog posts Smith wrote were supported the Republican Party and the Trump agenda. In all, he wrote 22 posts.
Smith’s blog reveals a man avidly interested in politics, strongly supportive of Trump and the Republicans, who offered political advice and opinion on a variety of issues. The issues he cared about the most, judging by the frequency of posts, were the investigation and Clinton’s emails.
He mentioned “Russia” 23 times in his 22 posts, “email” or “emails” 20 times, “WikiLeaks” 14 times, and “Comey” 10 times. In one post, he writes that various hacks indicate “no evidence of Russian involvement.”
In another post, he claims that Wikileaks was (and presumably is) already in possession of the 33,000 “missing emails” that he was searching for:
Despite this protection, WikiLeaks elected not to publish the 33,000 or so missing emails from Secretary Clinton’s private server, even though these were in WikiLeaks’ possession for more than nine months. They may have refrained in the hopes that they could curry favor with an incoming Clinton administration.
The “33,000” emails refers to a number of emails Clinton was accused of deleting rather than turning over to the FBI. Trump had made a number of statements to the effect that he wanted Russia or hackers to leak the emails. In one speech on July 27, 2016, he said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Smith talked to the Wall Street Journal around May 4 about his involvement trying to find the emails. The article was published on June 29. While his blogs often argued there was no evidence of Russian involvement in hacks, he was quoted by the WSJ as saying:
“We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government,” Mr. Smith said.
*(The WSJ wrote that Smith died “on May 14, which was about 10 days after the Journal interviewed him.”)
In the days after being interviewed by the WSJ, on May 6, Smith published his post titled, “Tinfoil Hat Coalition Reaches End of Line With Trump- Russia Connection.”
On November 21, two weeks after the election, Smith again argued that WikiLeaks had Clinton’s emails but that, “Nation-States [were] Not Involved In Campaign-Related Email Leaks.”
WikiLeaks has reported that they received the Clinton emails nine months ago, but have not released them. These emails were widely available.
Another of the WSJ’s sources, Matt Tait, wrote that Smith thought the Russian government might have Clinton’s emails. Describing his interactions with Smith, Tait wrote:
Over the course of our conversations, one thing struck me as particularly disturbing. Smith and I talked several times about the DNC hack, and I expressed my view that the hack had likely been orchestrated by Russia and that the Kremlin was using the stolen documents as part of an influence campaign against the United States. I explained that if someone had contacted him via the “Dark Web” with Clinton’s personal emails, he should take very seriously the possibility that this may have been part of a wider Russian campaign against the United States. And I said he need not take my word for it, pointing to a number of occasions where US officials had made it clear that this was the view of the U.S. intelligence community as well.
Smith, however, didn’t seem to care. From his perspective it didn’t matter who had taken the emails, or their motives for doing so.
- <a href=”http://Lawfare
He also wrote that Smith appeared knowledgeable about Trump campaign goings-on and that he represented himself as a member of a Trump-linked campaign group.
A Note on Smith’s Suicide and Conspiracy Theories
There are now conspiracy theories swelling around the death of Smith. The conspiracy-minded are suggesting that he was murdered by someone. This, I must say, is complete bullshit. There’s no evidence whatsoever that he was murdered.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Smith left a suicide note that said,
NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER … RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017 … LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING
I get to analysis now, after having reported facts above, but it is quite simple from the information reported that there are only two reasons, both of which make perfect sense and do not require a conspiracy theory, why someone would write a suicide note admitting he did it for the money. Either:
1.) He really did do it just for the money. He was already planning on committing suicide or thinking about it before he gave the interview to the Wall Street Journal. After giving the interview, he realized that his timing would be questioned, so he made sure to state explicitly that he did it for the money.
2.) He didn’t do it just for the money. Maybe he committed suicide for a different reason and then wrote that he did it for the money in order to provide a plausible pretext. If he was afraid of being subpoenaed and having to testify in front of Congress, because he didn’t want to provide information that might hurt the president he supported, or if he feared potential criminal investigation himself, then he might have committed suicide to prevent that from happening.
(Or maybe both factors came together at the same time.)
There is nothing suspicious about either scenario.