Russiagate Deathwatch


THE AMERICANS

Peter Smith

WHERE SOME OF THIS HACKING MESS STARTED.

DEAD 10 DAYS AFTER GOING ON RECORD.

Newt Gingrich Fundraiser behind anti-Clinton “TROOPERGATE” Impeachment, Contacted Several Hacking Groups Including Russian and Guccifer 2.0, on BEHALF OF MICHAEL FLYNN AS TRUMP CAMPAIGN EXEC

New reports raise some big questions about Michael Flynn and Russian hackers

The Wall Street Journal describes how one Trump supporter reached out to hackers — and dropped Flynn’s name.  VOX

“A tantalizing set of reports from Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal gives the strongest indication yet that collusion may have occurred — or was at least attempted — between supporters of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian hackers who targeted Democrats’ emails.

And it raises serious questions about whether fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was involved in these efforts to contact hackers.

Harris describes an effort by Peter Smith, a Trump-supporting GOP operative and private equity executive, to track down Hillary Clinton’s infamous 30,000 or so deleted emails during the fall of 2016.

The effort, described on the record to Harris by Smith (the 81-year old man died a week and a half after their interview), entailed outreach to several hacker groups, including at least two that Smith believed to be Russian-tied, to see if they had hacked the emails and could release them.

The emails — which Clinton said she deleted because they were personal and unrelated to her work as secretary of state — never surfaced. And Smith didn’t work for the Trump campaign.

But this new report could be especially significant because of one name that keeps coming up: Michael Flynn, who at the time was advising the Trump campaign.

Smith repeatedly claimed that he was in contact with Flynn about the effort to find Clinton’s emails, per Harris’s sources.

“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?’” said Eric York, a computer-security expert from Atlanta who searched hacker forums on Mr. Smith’s behalf for people who might have access to the emails. …

… In phone conversations, Mr. Smith told a computer expert he was in direct contact with Mr. Flynn and his son, according to this expert. … The expert said that based on his conversations with Mr. Smith, he understood the elder Mr. Flynn to be coordinating with Mr. Smith’s group in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.

Furthermore, Harris describes, apparently for the first time, US intelligence reports claiming Russian hackers discussed how to get hacked emails to Flynn through a third party.

Investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the intelligence.

If accurate, all this is enough to raise serious questions about just what Flynn knew about this or any other attempted outreach to Russian hackers.

New information about Smith’s effort came out Friday night

In a follow-up story posted Friday night, the Wall Street Journal revealed that in a document Smith distributed while he was trying to recruit for his effort, he named the Trump campaign as one of four groups involved somehow, and specifically listed the names of several Trump advisers including Flynn, Steve Bannon, and Kellyanne Conway.

Bannon and Conway strongly denied being involved with Smith’s effort in any way. Flynn, however, did not respond to Harris’s requests for comment.

After that, information security expert Matt Tait published an article on Lawfare called “The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians,” in which he described briefly working with Smith in his effort to obtain Clinton’s deleted emails, and revealed that he had given the Journal the document that named the Trump advisers.

Harris describes an effort by Peter Smith, a Trump-supporting GOP operative and private equity executive, to track down Hillary Clinton’s infamous 30,000 or so deleted emails during the fall of 2016.

The effort, described on the record to Harris by Smith (the 81-year old man died a week and a half after their interview), entailed outreach to several hacker groups, including at least two that Smith believed to be Russian-tied, to see if they had hacked the emails and could release them.

The emails — which Clinton said she deleted because they were personal and unrelated to her work as secretary of state — never surfaced. And Smith didn’t work for the Trump campaign.

But this new report could be especially significant because of one name that keeps coming up: Michael Flynn, who at the time was advising the Trump campaign.

Smith repeatedly claimed that he was in contact with Flynn about the effort to find Clinton’s emails, per Harris’s sources.

“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?’” said Eric York, a computer-security expert from Atlanta who searched hacker forums on Mr. Smith’s behalf for people who might have access to the emails. …

… In phone conversations, Mr. Smith told a computer expert he was in direct contact with Mr. Flynn and his son, according to this expert. … The expert said that based on his conversations with Mr. Smith, he understood the elder Mr. Flynn to be coordinating with Mr. Smith’s group in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.

Furthermore, Harris describes, apparently for the first time, US intelligence reports claiming Russian hackers discussed how to get hacked emails to Flynn through a third party.

Investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the intelligence.

If accurate, all this is enough to raise serious questions about just what Flynn knew about this or any other attempted outreach to Russian hackers.

New information about Smith’s effort came out Friday night

In a follow-up story posted Friday night, the Wall Street Journal revealed that in a document Smith distributed while he was trying to recruit for his effort, he named the Trump campaign as one of four groups involved somehow, and specifically listed the names of several Trump advisers including Flynn, Steve Bannon, and Kellyanne Conway.

Bannon and Conway strongly denied being involved with Smith’s effort in any way. Flynn, however, did not respond to Harris’s requests for comment.

After that, information security expert Matt Tait published an article on Lawfare called “The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians,” in which he described briefly working with Smith in his effort to obtain Clinton’s deleted emails, and revealed that he had given the Journal the document that named the Trump advisers.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

So Trump has already been trying to shield Flynn from investigators — making the question of just what Flynn might know ever more interesting, and one that will certainly be on special counsel Robert Mueller’s mind.”  VOX

Gingrich Money Man Peter Smith Helped David Brock Sock Clinton

“Two close political associates of House Speaker Newt Gingrich were involved in attempts to discredit Bill Clinton with allegations about his personal life, both before and after the 1992 Presidential election. They tried to find an alleged illegitimate child of Mr. Clinton’s and helped to publicize sensational charges of misconduct made by his former Arkansas bodyguards.

The Observer has learned that Peter W. Smith, a wealthy Chicago investment banker and a top Gingrich fund-raiser, was behind the so-called “Troopergate” affair, in which four state troopers who served on Mr. Clinton’s security detail when he was Governor of Arkansas charged that he had used them to procure women for sex. It was Mr. Smith who first brought the troopers to the attention of writer David Brock, whose account of their allegations in The American Spectator magazine led to the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit, the Monica Lewinsky matter and other accusations of sexual impropriety against the President.

In an article in the April issue of Esquire , Mr. Brock expressed doubts about the troopers’ allegations and his own role in publicizing them. He confirmed to The Observer that Mr. Smith, a major contributor to Mr. Gingrich’s controversial GOPAC political fund, had facilitated his original connection with the troopers. Mr. Smith donated more than $100,000 to GOPAC between 1989 and 1995, making him one of the top 20 contributors to the committee.

Peter Smith: The other Gingrich associate involved in these activities was Eddie Mahe Jr., a political consultant who has worked intimately with Mr. Gingrich and GOPAC for many years. It was during a meeting in Mr. Mahe’s Capitol Hill office in October 1992 that Mr. Brock was introduced to the Republican effort to investigate Mr. Clinton’s personal life. According to Mr. Brock, Mr. Mahe and Mr. Smith discussed the search for a black woman in Arkansas who allegedly had borne Mr. Clinton’s child. Earlier in the year, a supermarket tabloid had reported the tale of a black child born out of wedlock, and it has since achieved the status of political legend.

Mr. Mahe told The Observer that he recalled Mr. Smith introducing him to Mr. Brock.”  Observer

 Scott Christianson

Scott Christianson, 69, acclaimed journalist, author and advocate Longtime Capital Region resident delved into past and present of race in America  Tuesday, May 16, 2017   TimesUnion

“ALBANY — Journalist, author, advocate and longtime Capital Region resident Scott Christianson, whose diverse subjects ranged from the history of incarceration to runaway slaves, died suddenly on Sunday at his home in Great Barrington, Mass.

Christianson, 69, died from massive head trauma after falling down the back stairs of his home. His wife, Tamar Gordon, said the banister had given way.

Gordon described her husband as a man who combined a voracious curiosity with a deep sense of social justice — and a keen nose for a great story.

Christianson had recently begun working for the investigative unit of the McClatchy news service. Just two weeks ago, he and his McClatchy colleague Greg Gordon published a comprehensive investigation on the ties between President Donald Trump and the hedge-fund mogul Robert Mercer.

Gordon laughed as she recalled hearing him lustily discuss his next story over the speakerphone only last week.”

He had just published this on May 1, 2017: “Billionaire Robert Mercer did Trump a huge favor. Will he get a payback?  BY SCOTT CHRISTIANSON AND GREG GORDON  McClatchy Washington Bureau  MAY 01, 2017


THE RUSSIANS

Eight months, eight prominent Russians dead CNN

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL:

Oleg Erovinkin

“Oleg Erovinkin, who had close ties to Russian intelligence, was found dead on December 26 sitting in his car on the streets of Moscow. Russian news outlets reported that he was 61 years old. Russian government agencies have not released an official cause of death.
He was a former general in the Russian law enforcement and intelligence agency known as the FSB. He also served as chief-of-staff to Igor Sechin, the president of state-owned oil giant Rosneft. Sechin enjoys a close relationship with Putin that dates back to the 1990s.
Because of Erovinkin’s background, conspiracy theorists and Russia watchers have speculated that he might have been a source of information in the 35-page dossier that detailed alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.”  CNN

Andrey Karlov

“Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, 62, was assassinated in Ankara on December 20. He was shot at point-blank range by a gunman while speaking at an art exhibition. The shooter, who was a Turkish police officer, shouted “do not forget Syria” during the assassination.” CNN

Petr Polshikov

“The same day as Karlov’s killing, Petr Polshikov, 56, a senior Russian diplomat, was shot to death in his Moscow home, according to Moscow newspaper Moskovskij Komsomolets. The paper said Polshikov’s wife found him in their bedroom with a pillow over his head. Underneath the pillow, police found Polshikov with a head wound.
A spokesman from the Russian Foreign Ministry said Polshikov’s death was likely an accident and had nothing to do with his official government duties, according to Russian news outlet REN-TV.” CNN

Nikolai Gorokhov

“Earlier this week, a private Russian lawyer on an anti-corruption crusade reportedly fell from the fourth floor of his Moscow apartment.
Nikolai Gorokhov, 53, was near death with “severe head injuries” and remains in a hospital’s intensive care unit, according to his friend, investor Bill Browder.
Gorokhov represented Sergei Magnitsky, a fellow Russian lawyer who exposed Russia’s largest ever tax fraud — and was later jailed and beaten to death in a Moscow detention center. Gorokhov continued his client’s fight.” CNN

Alexander Kadakin

Alexander Kadakin, 67, the Russian ambassador to India, died on January 26.
A spokeswoman for the Russian embassy in New Delhi said that Kadakin died after a short illness and that there was nothing “special or extraordinary” about the circumstances that led to his death.
Kadakin had worked in India since 2009. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “a great friend of India” who worked hard to strengthen relations between the two countries.” CNN

Denis Voronenkov

Denis Voronenkov, 45, was gunned down Thursday outside a hotel in Kiev. Voronenkov and his wife both spoke out against Putin after they left Russia for Ukraine in October.
Voronenkov also helped Ukraine in its ongoing fight against Russian influence, testifying in a treason trial against ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was perceived as a puppet politician for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine’s president called the shooting a “Russian state terrorist act.” Russian authorities denied the accusation.” CNN

Andrey Malanin

“Andrey Malanin, a senior diplomat at the Russian embassy in Greece, was found dead in early January.
Malanin, 54, was the head of the Russian embassy’s consular section in Athens. Police sources told CNN that worried colleagues called authorities after Malanin didn’t show up to work for a few days. Police entered his apartment on January 9th and found him dead on his bedroom floor.
Initial reports from Greek police suggested Malanin died suddenly from natural causes. Two Greek police officials said foul play was not suspected. An investigation remains underway.” CNN

Alex Oronov

Alex Oronov, a Ukrainian billionaire businessman who was connected by marriage to Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and associate, dies unexpectedly (March 2, 2017). Oronov’s daughter was married to Cohen’s brother. Oronov reportedly set up a January 2017 meeting between Cohen and Russian officials to discuss a possible “peace plan” between Russia and Ukraine that would have formalized Putin’s control over Crimea. The New York Times reported that this peace proposal was hand-delivered to Michael Flynn prior to his forced resignation.

Sergei Krivov

“On the morning of the U.S. election, November 8, about an hour after the first polls opened in New York City, police received a 911 call about an unconscious man inside the Russian consulate. When they arrived, they found Sergei Krivov, 63, unresponsive. Emergency responders declared him dead at the scene.
Krivov, who was born in Russia, had served in the consulate as duty commander involved with security affairs, according to Russian news reports.
Russian consular officials first said Krivov fell from the roof. Then, they said he died of a heart attack.
The initial police report filed on the day of the incident said Krivov was found “with an unknown trauma to the head,” according to a New York Police Department spokesman.
However, after conducting an autopsy and finishing its investigation, the New York City Medical Examiner ruled that Krivov died from bleeding in the chest area, likely due to a tumor. Police sources said foul play wasn’t suspected and that Krivov had been in poor health.” CNN

Vitaly Churkin

Vitaly Churkin, Russian Ambassador to the UN, died of “cardiac arrest” on February 20, 2017. “For a decade, it was Churkin who raised his arm to veto numerous resolutions ranging from the Syrian crisis to the Malaysia Airlines crash over eastern Ukraine. He stood firm in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime against Western attacks. And he cited US policy in Libya as a symbol of failure by Western countries who favored regime change…”Devastated by passing of UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin,” [Former US Ambassador Samantha] Power tweeted. “Diplomatic maestro & deeply caring man who did all he (could) to bridge US-RUS differences.” CNN      Analysis: What Vitaly Churkin’s death means for the United Nations    CNN