A late Republican activist who sought to obtain 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails had a “professional relationship” with top Trump campaign adviser and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to The Wall Street Journal. Peter Smith, who killed himself in 2017, reportedly told associates he was using Flynn’s connections to “help him on the email project.” The newspaper reports that Smith and Flynn first met in 2015, when Flynn was attempting to start his own consulting firm and Smith was looking for “investment opportunities in cybersecurity.” Former Smith associate John Szobocsan reportedly wrote in an email to a friend that the relationship between Smith and Flynn started in “November 2015” and suggested he and Smith “spoke with [Flynn] on the day he left for his trip to Moscow.” The newspaper reports the 2015 meeting yielded no business deals, but it reportedly gave Smith “a contact who would go on to become part of Mr. Trump’s inner circle.”
Flynn was later forced to resign from his National Security Adviser role and pleaded guilty to lying to authorities about his conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office is reportedly interested in Smith’s activities as part of their inquiry into the Trump campaign's possible Russian collusion. The newspaper reports that “numerous people” familiar with Smith’s email quest have been questioned by Mueller’s office. A grand jury subpoena also reportedly “sought a range of documents concerning” Smith’s activities.