House Democrat calls for testimony on GOP email operation

House Democrat calls for testimony on GOP email operation
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A member of the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday said the panel should request testimony about the GOP operation that allegedly sought Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 Close the avenues of foreign meddling Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report MORE's emails from Russian hackers last year.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) wants the committee, which oversees the House probe into Russian meddling in the election, to hear testimony from Matt Tait. Tait is a U.K.-based security consultant who claims a Republican activist tried to recruit him last year as part of an operation to obtain and authenticate Clinton's emails.


Tait is also one of the only identified sources of knowledge on the operation left alive, since Peter Smith, the GOP operative heading the alleged operation, died after partially revealing his involvement.

"The House Intelligence Cmte should hear from Matt Tait ASAP," Castro wrote on Twitter, linking to Tait's account of his interaction with Smith's operation.

Castro, as a minority member of the committee, does not have the power to summon Tait before the panel, which is investigating both Russia's role in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Castro's call for lawmakers to speak with Tait comes as the intelligence panel prepares to interview a series of high-profile figures as part of its Russia probe, including former national security adviser Susan Rice and former Trump adviser Roger Stone.

Tait revealed in a blog post late Friday night that he was one of the anonymous sources in a Wall Street Journal report detailing Smith's efforts to connect with hacker groups in hopes that he could obtain politically damaging emails that Clinton said she had deleted.

Smith listed several top members of the Trump campaign – some of whom now work in the White House – in a document aimed at recruiting investigators to help him in his search. 

The Wall Street Journal noted that Smith claimed his operation was independent of the Trump campaign.

But in his post on Lawfare Blog on Friday, Tait said that he was among those that Smith tried to recruit and that he believed the email operation was formed with the "blessing" of at least some Trump campaign officials.

What's more, he also said in the blog post that he warned Smith that the sources of the email leaks he was seeking were likely fronts for the Russian government. The GOP activist, he said, "didn't seem to care."