Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn was involved in a bizarre effort to hunt down emails that Hillary Clinton had deleted from her private email server.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Mueller’s investigators have been conducting interviews to determine if Flynn was involved in the email hunt, which was orchestrated by GOP opposition researcher and equity fund manager Peter Smith.
Smith, who died in May by suicide at the age of 81, formed a team of investigators in the months before the election to search the “dark web” for Clinton’s deleted emails. Smith told The Journal in an interview days before his death that his team found five foreign hacker groups who claimed to have the emails, which were said to number more than 30,000.
Smith told The Journal that he suspected that some of the groups were associated with the Russian government.
Smith never did obtain the Clinton emails, but Mueller appears interested in whether Flynn was involved. As The Wall Street Journal reported when it first broke the story of Flynn’s project, U.S. officials have intelligence showing that Russian hackers discussed providing deleted Clinton emails to Flynn through an intermediary.
Smith suggested to associates that Flynn was involved in the email project. He sent emails referring to Flynn and also suggested that Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway were aware of the email search. Smith also claimed to have contacts through Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., and Flynn Intel Group, the defense intelligence firm they ran out of Alexandria, Va.
Mueller is also investigating Flynn Intel Group’s lobbying work during the campaign for a Turkish businessman with close links to the Turkish government.
Chuck Johnson, a conservative opposition researcher, worked with Smith on the project. He told The Daily Caller last month that he did not believe that Flynn was working with Smith to find Clinton’s emails. He did say that Smith and Flynn know each other. (RELATED: Senate Intel Committee Wants To Interview Chuck Johnson As Part Of Trump-Russia Probe)
Johnson also told TheDC on Friday that he has not been contacted by Mueller. But late last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee contacted him to set up an interview to discuss the Smith effort.