Longtime Republican operative Peter Smith raised at least $100,000 to obtain what he thought were emails stolen from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief 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.
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 (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups 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.