The Most Direct Evidence of Collusion so Far: Peter W. Smith

     The Wall Street Journal broke a bombshell story June 29th.  It describes how a Republican operative in communication with Michael Flynn named Peter W. Smith worked with Russian hackers in an effort to get Hillary Clinton’s emails.  Smith listed Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis and Flynn in a recruiting document.  Clovis is the White House representative at the U. S. Department of Agriculture.  Conway is a Counselor to the President.  Bannon is the White House Chief Strategist.  Michael Flynn is the former National Security Advisor for the Trump administration.  This story provides some of the most direct evidence we have so far of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.
     During the campaign Trump actually asked the Russians to hack into Clinton’s emails and distribute them to the media on July 27th.

It would certainly be understandable for Trump team members, advisors, supporters and the Russians to interpret getting Clinton’s emails as a priority objective for Trump.  On July 29th Reuters reported there was a cyberattack on the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the FBI was investigating.
     The Trump Administration knew these stories about Peter Smith were coming out because they were contacted for their comments.  Rachel Maddow noted this might help explain why Trump picked a fight with Mika Brezinski this week: it helps him distract attention from the evidence of collusion.
     Elements of the story reported by the Wall Street Journal were subsequently confirmed independently by a former British intelligence specialist.

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