Report: GOP researcher who dug for Clinton emails killed himself in MN hotel room

Peter W. Smith died in May, bit the details were just revealed by the Chicago Tribune.
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A Republican opposition researcher who made national headlines by recruiting hackers to try to get stolen Hillary Clinton emails killed himself in a Minnesota hotel this spring.

That comes from a report in the Chicago Tribune, which said 81-year-old Peter W. Smith took his own life on May 14 while in a Rochester hotel room frequently used by Mayo Clinic patients. He reportedly left a suicide note saying he was in a bad health situation and his life insurance was expiring.

"NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER," the note included.

He'd been staying at the hotel for a few days. It's unknown what treatment, if any, he might have been getting from the Mayo Clinic because health privacy laws prevent the facility from discussing it, the Chicago Tribune said.

He tried to get Clinton's deleted emails

Smith's name popped up as recently as last month because of his efforts during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

As the Wall Street Journal reported on June 29, Smith started an independent effort in September of 2016 to obtain Clinton emails he believed were stolen by Russian hackers. And he reportedly discussed it with Michael Flynn – the general who was President Donald Trump's National Security Advisor for a few weeks, before resigning over talks he had with Russia.

Heavy reported Smith had done opposition research on politicians in the past. On his blog PeterWSmith.com – you can access it via the Wayback Machine – he made clear he didn't think Russia interfered in the election.

Smith told the Wall Street Journal in May that he began shopping around for the emails, with five groups of hackers (two of them Russian) claiming to have them, according to Slate.

Days later, he took his own life in the Rochester hotel room, a bag over his head that was connected to a helium source, the Chicago Tribune said. His death was announced at the time, but the details hadn't been revealed.

He worked as a high-level exec in the financial industry, according to his bio, and was also involved in public affairs groups.

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