Republican Operative Takes Own Life In Rochester

Peter Smith a GOP operative who said he tried to obtain Hillary Clinton's emails from Russian hackers has committed suicide

The hotel in Rochester, Minnesota where Smith was staying is known to be frequented by Mayo Clinic patients, but a spokeswoman did not confirm to the Tribune if Smith had been a patient there.

Working independently of the Trump campaign and starting in May 2016, Smith told the Wall Street Journal that he and his team worked to acquire tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails that had been deleted by the former Secretary of State because they described "personal" matters.

The GOP political operative who claimed he was searching for hacked versions of Hillary Clinton's emails on behalf of former national security adviser Michael Flynn reportedly died by suicide, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Smith's body was found with carefully prepared documents, including a suicide note, in which he said he was ill and had a $5 million life-insurance policy about to expire.

According to the Tribune 's report, Smith apologized to authorities in the note and insisted that "NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" was involved in his death. He died at the Aspen Suites in Rochester, which the report characterized as a "hotel used nearly exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives".

His hotel was located near the Mayo Clinic, where a former employee of his said he visited for a heart condition. He was 81 at the time of his death.

Records show Smith died of asphyxiation with a bag over his head that was connected to a helium source. After talking with reporters from The Wall Street Journal about his attempt to obtain the emails, Smith reportedly committed suicide.

Police reports confirmed tanks of helium were found in the room, as well as receipts for a nearby Walmart where Smith purchased "Helium Jumbo".

Matt Tait, a security researcher who Smith attempted to recruit to his effort, said in a blog that 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's account is consistent with the findings from U.S. investigators examining Russia's involvement in the 2016 USA presidential election, according to sources cited by The Journal.

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