GOP operative who hunted for Hillary Clinton's emails killed himself

GOP operative who said he looked for Clinton emails on Flynn’s behalf reportedly died by suicide

Also on Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported on public records documenting his death in a Minnesota hotel room.

Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton's server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to US officials with knowledge of the intelligence.

Smith had lived in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest.

In his note, Smith wrote "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" was involved in his death, and said he took his own life because of a "RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017" and because he "LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION (was) EXPIRING". He was 81 at the time of his death. Smith's former associates said he was suffering from health issues and frequently complained of heart problems. Smith's body had a bag over his head which was attached to a helium source, according to death reports.

"When I got there and saw the tank, I thought, "I've seen this before", and was able to put two and two together", the former employee told the Tribune. Smith told the Journal he had found several hacker groups, including two from Russian Federation, who claimed to have access to the emails, but he was unable to confirm their authenticity. Investigators still do not believe foul play was involved, according to the Tribune.

Flynn, who was sacked in February just weeks after starting in his role as national security adviser to Trump and making misleading comments about his conversations with Russia's USA ambassador, has not commented on Smith's search for Clinton's e-mails, or any involvement Flynn himself may have had with Smith in the process.

Details about Smith's unidentified illness were not immediately available, and the Mayo Clinic was barred from sharing whether he was a patient there.

The Journal said Flynn did not respond to requests, the White House declined comment, and the campaign said Smith never worked for it and that any such action undertaken by Flynn, if true, was not on its behalf.

According to the Journal, Smith recruited a team to find the emails over Labor Day in 2016. He also led private equity firms for more than 40 years.

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