Veteran GOP operative raised thousands in search for stolen Clinton emails: report

Veteran GOP operative raised thousands in search for stolen Clinton emails: report
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Longtime Republican operative Peter Smith raised at least $100,000 to obtain what he thought were emails stolen from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants MORE in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

The Journal last year reported Smith's attempts to obtain Clinton's deleted emails from hackers in the weeks running up to the 2016 election.

The paper reported Sunday that Smith gained $100,000 from at least four backers and contributed $50,000 of his own money toward the effort.

The donations were made in the name of a Washington scholarship fund for Russian students, according to the Journal. The newspaper could not determine whether the scholarship fund existed.

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However, the donations were referenced in an email titled "Wire Instructions—Clinton Email Reconnaissance Initiative" that the Journal reviewed in an account used by Smith.

The Journal reported that it could not determine who sent the email, as many people had access to the Gmail account.

Smith's attempts to gain Clinton's emails have come under scrutiny as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE probes alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

Smith believed the emails were hacked by Russians and in recruiting help for his effort reportedly claimed a connection to President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Smith, the White House and an official for Trump’s campaign all denied that Smith worked for them during his attempt to obtain the emails, according to the Journal.

Smith died after detailing his work to the Journal last year.