Famous GOP political operative Peter W. Smith, who attempted to obtain Hillary Clinton’s criminal emails from computer hackers, was just found dead. Now, records show he committed suicide.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Smith launched his own effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing emails using Russian Hackers. But days after that interview, he was found dead in a hotel in Rocester, Minnesota, at age 81.
At the time, because of his age, people assumed it was natural causes. But now, we know it was not.
Smith had a history of doing opposition research on other politicians, including Bill Clinton. He played a role in exposing details of Bill Clinton’s lurid sex life – especially Troopergate – along with wanting to look into a trip Bill Clinton had taken to the Soviet Union in 1969.
As The Chicago Tribune reports:
In mid-May, in a room at a Rochester hotel used almost exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives, Peter W. Smith, 81, left a carefully prepared file of documents, including a statement police called a suicide note in which he said he was in ill health and a life insurance policy was expiring.
Days earlier, the financier from suburban Lake Forest gave an interview to the Journal about his quest, and it began publishing stories about his efforts in late June. The Journal also reported it had seen emails written by Smith showing his team considered retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then a top adviser to Republican Donald Trump’s campaign, an ally. Flynn briefly was President Trump’s national security adviser and resigned after it was determined he had failed to disclose contacts with Russia.
At the time, the newspaper reported Smith’s May 14 death came about 10 days after he granted the interview. Mystery shrouded how and where he had died, but the lead reporter on the stories said on a podcast he had no reason to believe the death was the result of foul play and that Smith likely had died of natural causes.
However, the Chicago Tribune obtained a Minnesota state death record filed in Olmsted County saying Smith committed suicide in a hotel near the Mayo Clinic at 1:17 p.m. on Sunday, May 14. He was found with a bag over his head with a source of helium attached. A medical examiner’s report gives the same account, without specifying the time, and a report from Rochester police further details his suicide.
In the note recovered by police, Smith apologized to authorities and said that “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER” was involved in his death. He wrote that he was taking his own life because of a “RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017” and timing related “TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING.”
Days before his death, Smith wrote two separate blog posts. One challenged U.S. intelligence agency findings that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. Another post opined: “As attention turns to international affairs, as it will shortly, the Russian interference story will die of its own weight.”
Rochester police Chief Roger Peterson on Wednesday called Smith’s manner of death “unusual,” but a funeral home worker said he’d seen it before.
“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 employee said.
It is surprising to learn a suicide note that says “No Foul Play Whatsoever” is common, isn’t it?