Cybersecurity consultant says Donald Trump-connected Russian election colluder tried to recruit him

Late this week the Wall Street Journal reported on recently deceased Republican operative Peter W. Smith, who was trying to collude with Russian election hackers, and who claimed to be working with Michael Flynn and connected to Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. Everyone from the Donald Trump campaign is denying any association with Smith. But now one of the main sources for the WSJ story is independently coming forward with why he believes Smith was in fact working with the Trump campaign.

Cybersecurity consultant Matt Tait now says that he was the one who turned over Peter W. Smith’s records to the Wall Street Journal, which formed the basis of the newspaper’s reporting on Smith. During the election, Smith tried and ultimately failed to recruit Tait as part of a quest to obtain emails that Smith believed Russian hackers had stolen from Hillary Clinton. Tait says that while he provided Smith’s records to the WSJ for its story, he wasn’t aware of the larger picture with Smith until after he read the resulting WSJ story. But this is where it gets interesting.

This is what Tait has to say about Peter W. Smith’s operation as he understood it: “It was immediately apparent that Smith was both well connected within the top echelons of the campaign and he seemed to know both Lt. Gen. Flynn and his son well. Smith routinely talked about the goings on at the top of the Trump team, offering deep insights into the bizarre world at the top of the Trump campaign.” He then adds: “My perception then was that the inclusion of Trump campaign officials on this document was not merely a name-dropping exercise. This document was about establishing a company to conduct opposition research on behalf of the campaign, but operating at a distance so as to avoid campaign reporting. Indeed, the document says as much in black and white.”

In other words, despite the denials of the Trump team, Peter Smith may have indeed been working with the Trump campaign and simply giving it deniability by registering his own LLC in Delaware


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