GOP Operative Searching For Missing Clinton Emails Killed Himself With Helium

GOP Operative Peter W. Smith found dead in his hotel room

Last month, the Wall Street Journal dropped a blockbuster report about a now-deceased Republican operative, Peter Smith, who implied he was working with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in an effort to obtain Hillary Clinton's emails during last year's presidential campaign.

Smith's death came about 10 days after the Journal said that he granted the newspaper an interview.

The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday night, citing a Minnesota state death record filed in Olmsted County, that Smith killed himself on May 14 days after he talked to the Wall Street Journal about his hunt for Clinton's emails.

According to the Tribune, Smith wrote two blog posts before his death: one challenging the USA intelligence community's findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and another "predicting" that "the Russian interference story will die of its own weight". Smith explained his suicide as the outcome of a "recent bad turn in health since January, 2017" and "Life insurance of $5 million expiring".

Law enforcement officials say that there's no reason to believe foul play was involved, since he left a suicide note and gave his reasoning for taking his own life, but the coincidence has inspired conspiracy theorists.

Someone employed at the hotel when Smith died said he was staying there while being treated for a heart condition. He was found with a bag over his head with a source of helium attached.

"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. Wednesday, when reached by the Tribune, Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson said Smith's method of choice was "unusual".

According to the Journal, Smith recruited a team to find the emails over Labor Day in 2016.

Smith told the Journal that five teams of hackers, at least two of whom were Russian, claimed to have Clinton's emails. However, Smith never confirmed to the Journal whether or not he was indeed working alongside Flynn.

The day before he died, Smith wrote a blog post that said "As attention turns to global affairs, as it will shortly, the Russian interference story will die of its own weight". Prior to attempting to uncover "dirt" on Hillary, he also spent more than 45 years searching for incriminating evidence against Bill Clinton.

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