A Republican political activist who last year led a hunt to track down personal Hillary Clinton emails that had been deleted from a private email server cited several senior members of President Trump’s campaign, including some who now serve as top officials to the President, in a recruitment document.
The activist, Peter W. Smith, created the document in his effort to assemble a team of tech experts, lawyers and Russian-speaking investigators to locate the 33,000 emails Clinton used while Secretary of State, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among the Trump aides named were Stephen Bannon, now chief strategist to the President, then-campaign manager and current presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, a former campaign adviser who controversially resigned briefly into his tenure as Trump’s national security adviser.
It remains unclear why these Trump officials were listed in the document, dated Sept. 7, 2016, but they were named under a header labeled “Trump Campaign,” followed by: “in coordination to the extent permitted as an independent expenditure,” according to the report.
Smith and others suspected that hackers might have obtained the missing emails and thought them to contain potentially damaging information, according to the Journal.
Smith, who died last month shortly after speaking to the paper, said he and his team were in communication with several hacker groups, two of which he believed were directly connected to the Russian government.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Kremlin regarding interference with the U.S. presidential election.