Matt Tait: ‘It Was Immediately Clear Peter Smith Was Well Connected With Upper Echelons of the Trump Campaign’
As far as showing actual coordination on the part of the Trump campaign-or individuals on behalf of the Trump campaign this is as close as we’ve gotten to a smoking gun yet.
‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this—if you find anything, can you let me know?’
I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this. If this statement by Smith is true then there absolutely was Russia coordination at the highest levels. While we always talk about Russia collusion, Comey stated in the March hearing that the FBI was investigating coordination with Russia.
As we saw in my last post, in Peter Smith’s emails he also referenced Steve Bannon, Kellyann Conway, Sam Clovis and had a section called ‘The Trump Campaign’ which was followed by another with the word ‘coordination’ in the heading.
In Russia coordination doc, Peter Smith also cited Bannon, Conway, Clovis, & 'the Trump Campaign' & 'coordination' https://t.co/kHW8ypAysY
— mike sax (@mikesaxny2) July 1, 2017
So why did Peter Smith-who mysteriously died 10 days after his WSJ interview, mysterious, as neither the WSJ or anyone else can tell us the cause of death-also mention Conway, Bannon and Clovis, and call two sections of his email document, the Trump Campaign and coordination?
Seeing that the FBI-Special Counsel investigation is into finding if there was any coordination by the Trump campaign or any individuals affiliated with it, these are important questions.
Let’s ask the guy Peter Smith emailed this very interesting document to-Matt Tait.
“My role in these events began last spring, when I spent a great deal of time studying the series of Freedom of Information disclosures by the State Department of Hillary Clinton’s emails, and posting the parts I found most interesting—especially those relevant to computer security—on my public Twitter account. I was doing this not because I am some particular foe of Clinton’s—I’m not—but because like everyone else, I assumed she was likely to become the next President of the United States, and I believed her emails might provide some insight into key cybersecurity and national security issues once she was elected in November.”
“A while later, on June 14, the Washington Post reported on a hack of the DNC ostensibly by Russian intelligence. When material from this hack began appearing online, courtesy of the “Guccifer 2” online persona, I turned my attention to looking at these stolen documents. This time, my purpose was to try and understand who broke into the DNC, and why.”
“A few weeks later, right around the time the DNC emails were dumped by Wikileaks—and curiously, around the same time Trump called for the Russians to get Hillary Clinton’s missing emails—I was contacted out the blue by a man named Peter Smith, who had seen my work going through these emails. Smith implied that he was a well-connected Republican political operative.”
“Initially, I assumed the query must have been about my work on the DNC hack; after all, few people followed my account prior to the DNC breach, whereas my analysis of the break-in at the DNC had received considerably more coverage. I assumed his query about the “Clinton emails” was therefore a mistake and that he meant instead to talk to me about the emails stolen from the DNC. So I agreed to talk to him, thinking that, whatever my views on then-candidate Trump, if a national campaign wanted an independent non-partisan view on the facts surrounding the case, I should provide it to the best of my ability.”
“Yet Smith had not contacted me about the DNC hack, but rather about his conviction that Clinton’s private email server had been hacked—in his view almost certainly both by the Russian government and likely by multiple other hackers too—and his desire to ensure that the fruits of those hacks were exposed prior to the election. Over the course of a long phone call, he mentioned that he had been contacted by someone on the “Dark Web” who claimed to have a copy of emails from Secretary Clinton’s private server, and this was why he had contacted me; he wanted me to help validate whether or not the emails were genuine.”
The dark web.
“I never found out who Smith’s contact on the “Dark Web” was. It was never clear to me whether this person was merely someone trying to dupe Smith out of his money, or a Russian front, and it was never clear to me how they represented their own credentials to Smith.”
“Over the course of our conversations, one thing struck me as particularly disturbing. Smith and I talked several times about the DNC hack, and I expressed my view that the hack had likely been orchestrated by Russia and that the Kremlin was using the stolen documents as part of an influence campaign against the United States. I explained that if someone had contacted him via the “Dark Web” with Clinton’s personal emails, he should take very seriously the possibility that this may have been part of a wider Russian campaign against the United States. And I said he need not take my word for it, pointing to a number of occasions where US officials had made it clear that this was the view of the U.S. intelligence community as well.”
“Smith, however, didn’t seem to care. From his perspective it didn’t matter who had taken the emails, or their motives for doing so. He never expressed to me any discomfort with the possibility that the emails he was seeking were potentially from a Russian front, a likelihood he was happy to acknowledge. If they were genuine, they would hurt Clinton’s chances, and therefore help Trump.”
And that’s what comes through from the WSJ piece as well. He told them that he new that at least some of them were Russian hackers with ties to the Russian government-ie, Russian intelligence. Yet James Comey claims the NYT piece in February that said the Trump campaign worked with Russian intelligence officials was false. Hm…
Just recently we’ve had some Trump apologists at Fox making the novel argument-‘But even if he did collude with Russia, who cares?’
Brit Humes who is a proponent of the argument also was a proponent for Bill Clinton being impeached and removed from office for getting a BJ.
It is interesting that this argument surfaced just a few weeks before this bombshell which totally changes the game on Russia coordination-which is what the FBI investigation is looking at rather than ‘collusion.’ I’ve been using ‘collusion’ too but ‘coordination’ is a a little more precise and perhaps understandable.
So who does Matt Tait believe Peter Smith was? What did he think then what does he think now?
“When he first contacted me, I did not know who Smith was, but his legitimate connections within the Republican party were apparent. ”
Certainly-he had been a Clinton hunter going back to when Smith, David, Brock, etc, were paying Arkansas troopers for any dirt on the Clintons.
“Although it wasn’t initially clear to me how independent Smith’s operation was from Flynn or the Trump campaign, 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.”
So despite the WSJ’s own initial headlines that Smith was ‘independent’ of the Trump campaign, this was not at all Matt Tait’s impression-and he’s who actually had the conversations with Smith.
There’s no question that Smith showed the kind of granular detail about Flynn that shows he must have known him 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. Smith told of Flynn’s deep dislike of DNI Clapper, whom Flynn blamed for his dismissal by President Obama. Smith told of Flynn’s moves to position himself to become CIA Director under Trump, but also that Flynn had been persuaded that the Senate confirmation process would be prohibitively difficult. He would instead therefore become National Security Advisor should Trump win the election, Smith said.”
History has proven Smith absolutely right.
“Towards the end of one of our conversations, Smith made his pitch. He said that his team had been contacted by someone on the “dark web”; that this person had the emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server (which she had subsequently deleted), and that Smith wanted to establish if the emails were genuine. If so, he wanted to ensure that they became public prior to the election. What he wanted from me was to determine if the emails were genuine or not.”
“It is no overstatement to say that my conversations with Smith shocked me. Given the amount of media attention given at the time to the likely involvement of the Russian government in the DNC hack, it seemed mind-boggling for the Trump campaign—or for this offshoot of it—to be actively seeking those emails. To me this felt really wrong.”
Again, what stands out in Matt Tait’s recollection as well as the WSJ piece is that Smith had no problem working with Russian hackers with the Russian government-FSB, etc. If that helps Trump win that’s all that matters. What’s treason compared to winning the election?
“In my conversations with Smith and his colleague, I tried to stress this point: if this dark web contact is a front for the Russian government, you really don’t want to play this game. But they were not discouraged. They appeared to be convinced of the need to obtain Clinton’s private emails and make them public, and they had a reckless lack of interest in whether the emails came from a Russian cut-out. Indeed, they made it quite clear to me that it made no difference to them who hacked the emails or why they did so, only that the emails be found and made public before the election.”
Ok, but now here are the money quotes. Let’s just reflect on the fact this guy-Matt Tait-is the real deal. Here is what Ben Wittes said about him last night:
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) June 30, 2017
Table set-back to Matt Tait:
“As I mentioned above, Smith and his associates’ knowledge of the inner workings of the campaign were insightful beyond what could be obtained by merely attending Republican events or watching large amounts of news coverage. But one thing I could not place, at least initially, was whether Smith was working on behalf of the campaign, or whether he was acting independently to help the campaign in his personal capacity.”
Again, the WSJ piece initially had subtitles that seemed to take it as presumed fact that Smith was acting alone.
“Then, a few weeks into my interactions with Smith, he sent me a document, ostensibly a cover page for a dossier of opposition research to be compiled by Smith’s group, and which purported to clear up who was involved. The document was entitled “A Demonstrative Pedagogical Summary to be Developed and Released Prior to November 8, 2016,” and dated September 7. It detailed a company Smith and his colleagues had set up as a vehicle to conduct the research: “KLS Research”, set up as a Delaware LLC “to avoid campaign reporting,” and listing four groups who were involved in one way or another.”
“The first group, entitled “Trump Campaign (in coordination to the extent permitted as an independent expenditure)” listed a number of senior campaign officials: Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis, Lt. Gen. Flynn and Lisa Nelson.”
For me right here is the money quote: Trump Campaign in coordination.
“The combination of Smith’s deep knowledge of the inner workings of the campaign, this document naming him in the “Trump campaign” group, and the multiple references to needing to avoid campaign reporting suggested to me that the group was formed with the blessing of the Trump campaign. In the Journal’s story this evening, several of the individuals named in the document denied any connection to Smith, and it’s certainly possible that he was a big name-dropper and never really represented anyone other than himself. If that’s the case, Smith talked a very good game.”
He sure did know a lot though about Flynn-and as Tait says, “he clearly Smith and his associates’ knowledge of the inner workings of the campaign were insightful beyond what could be obtained by merely attending Republican events or watching large amounts of news coverage.”
Bottomline this is a game changer like Jonathan Chait says:
“Most of the commentary surrounding the Russia scandal has treated the possibility that Donald Trump’s campaign deliberately colluded with Moscow as remote, unfounded speculation. The new reporting that has broken this weekend suggests instead that this collusion likely did take place. It provides a roadmap to the, or perhaps a, likely avenue through which this occurred.”
Indeed it does. To be sure, I never understood why so many in the MSM have treated it like remote, unfounded speculation.
What you notice is that those who have always treat each new bombshell completely on its own terms without any larger context. They ignore the 100 bombshells that preceded it which made it easier to dismiss as ‘pretty hazy.’
No more. Now the momentum is moving to the side of those who have strongly suspected coordination all the time.
P.S. If you believe that 25 years is enough for an imperious monarch like Peter King NY-2 who is a Republican first and an American second and is too arrogant to even speak to his own constituents please help me in my challenge to him in any way you can. If you live in the area you can volunteer-or at least tell everyone you know. And no matter where you are in the country, donations help.
Mike Sax is the One to Dethrone the King. All Sax is good Sax.
I don’t play the saxophone-but I want to earn your support to be the next Congressman from NY 2.
Is Mike Sax a saxophone player? No. Can you support and vote for Mike Sax for Congress NY 2? Yes.