Flynn confidante arranged outside Clinton probe: report

Flynn confidante arranged outside Clinton probe: report
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A confidante of former national security adviser Michael Flynn sought the help of a contractor with knowledge of the so-called dark web through intermediaries, according to a report by the Guardian

In 2015, Barbara Ledeen, a conservative activist who works for Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFarmers: New Trump ethanol proposal reneged on previous deal Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate Positive quotes from Iowa senators disappear from EPA's latest ethanol announcement MORE (R-Iowa) on the Judiciary Committee, launched her own investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' Hillary Clinton praises former administration officials who testified before House as 'gutsy women' Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart MORE's use of a private email server — particularly whether the communications had been compromised by a "foreign power."

According to FBI files obtained by The Guardian, Ledeen had decided to undertake the probe because she wanted to know if such a hack would have endangered her children, who serve in the military.

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Unable to finance the work herself, Ledeen turned to an unnamed contractor, as well as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). Gingrich reportedly "wanted to speak to others about the project” and asked Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, to finance it.

Judicial Watch then turned to another unnamed contractor who was reportedly familiar with the "deep web and dark web." The project was eventually shut down. 

Ledeen is the second person tied to Flynn that reportedly sought to conduct an independent investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server for State Department business. 

The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Peter Smith, a longtime GOP operative who believed Clinton's emails had been compromised by foreign hackers, had approached a former British intelligence officer about receiving help authenticating alleged copies of Clinton's emails that Smith claimed he had received from someone on the "dark web."

Smith reportedly suggested that he was connected to Flynn, though he said the operation was independent of the Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE's presidential campaign. The GOP operative died in May, just days after speaking with the Wall Street Journal. 

Ledeen's involvement with the outside email investigation also raises concerns because she still works as on the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of the congressional panels investigating Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

A spokesman for Grassley, the committee's chairman, told the Guardian that Ledeen worked on the panel's judicial nominees unit and does not have access to materials regarding the Russia investigation. 

Flynn served as an adviser to Trump on the campaign trail, before being named the president's first national security adviser. He was forced to resign in February, just 24 days after taking office, amid revelations that he had misled Vice President Pence about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the months before Trump took office.

Flynn has become a central figure in the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

Trump has denied that his campaign ever coordinated with Russian nationals or officials and has called the probe a "witch hunt."