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GOP Operative Who Sought Clinton’s Emails Cited Flynn, Bannon, Conway in Recruiting Document

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“It was Immediately Apparent Smith was Well Connected” 

A longtime GOP opposition researcher who sought Hillary Clinton’s emails from hackers prior to the 2016 presidential election reportedly implied a connection to Michael Flynn and cited multiple White House officials in a recruiting document. 

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Peter W. Smith, who died last month after speaking with the newspaper, assembled a team of lawyers, tech experts and Russian-speaking investigators to obtain 33,000 of Clinton’s emails that he believed had been stolen by Russian hackers.

Amidst his investigation, Smith reportedly implied that he was affiliated with Donald Trump’s fired and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and in his recruitment efforts, named multiple Trump campaign officials who now serve in the White House.

According to the WSJ:

Officials identified in the document include Steve Bannon, now chief strategist for President Donald Trump; Kellyanne Conway, former campaign manager and now White House counselor; Sam Clovis, a policy adviser to the Trump campaign and now a senior adviser at the Agriculture Department; and retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who was a campaign adviser and briefly was national security adviser in the Trump administration.

Smith told the newspaper that his investigation found that five hacking groups claimed to have Clinton’s emails, two of which he had determined were Russian. Matt Tait, CEO and founder of UK-based Capital Alpha Security, was cited as a source in the article—and has since further spoken out on the matter.

Tait detailed his experience with Smith for Lawfare in “The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians,” leaving behind his anonymity “in the spirit of Benjamin Wittes’s account of his interactions with James Comey immediately following the New York Times story for which he acted as a source.”

“Over the course of our conversations, one thing struck me as particularly disturbing,” Tait wrote. “I expressed my view that the hack had likely been orchestrated by Russia and the Kremlin was using the stolen documents as part of an influence campaign against the United States.”

“Smith, however, didn’t seem to care,” he continued. “From his perspective it didn’t matter who had taken the emails, or their motives for doing so. He never expressed to me any discomfort with the possibility that the emails he was seeking were potentially from a Russian front, a likelihood he was happy to acknowledge. If they were genuine, they would hurt Clinton’s chances, and therefore help Trump.”

Tait further described Smith’s characterization of his interactions with Michael Flynn, saying that it wasn’t clear how independent his operation was from Flynn or the Trump campaign, but that it was “immediately apparent Smith was both well connected within the top echelons of the campaign and he seemed to know both Lt. Gen. Flynn and his son well.” 

Smith’s operation reportedly advised hackers to give the emails they claimed to have to WikiLeaks. The emails in question were not published and as The Hill pointed out, WikiLeaks has not claimed to possess them. 

Former FBI Director James Comey said last year that Hillary Clinton’s private email server did not appear to have been hacked. Donald Trump has frequently praised information released by WikiLeaks.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Demonstrating ‘The Depth of Power She Has Over Kevin McCarthy’: Politico Reporter

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Appearing on CNN on Saturday morning, Politico’s Rachael Bade explained that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s overwhelming desire to become the leader of a Republican Party-dominated House has put him at the mercy of the demands and whims of extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

As the plans for the 2022 midterm elections ramp up, and political prognosticators are saying a GOP House takeover is highly likely, McCarthy’s path to staying leader is not certain with the far-right wing of the party balking at just handing the California Republican the gavel.

As Bade explained to CNN’s Christi Paul, Taylor Green is just now starting to feel her power over McCarthy grow.

“What is the takeaway for Kevin McCarthy?” Paul asked. “Particularly, I have to point out that after last night, Marjorie Taylor Greene said she tweeted that she got off a good call with him. spent time talking about problems not only for the country. ‘I like what he has planned ahead.’ Two different — two different points of view from her and in a 24 to 48-hour period. What do you make of that?”

“Look, I think Kevin McCarthy has a really long year ahead of him,” Bade suggested. “You’re right, the midterms are far away. That vote for him to become speaker is a long way off, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is just starting to realize the depth of power she actually has over Kevin McCarthy.”

“This is a man who has wanted to be Speaker for a decade,” she continued. “He needs her vote, he needs her support in order to get the gavel. I think what you’ll be seeing for the next few months, for a year, anytime Kevin McCarthy does anything to infuriate Marjorie Taylor Greene or infuriates [Donald] Trump — they’re going to be lording it over his head.”

“He’s got this real bind right now, he’s going to be in this pickle for a very long time,” she later added.

Watch below:

 

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Fauci Warns: ‘It’s Not Going to Be Possible to Keep’ Omicron ‘Out of the Country’

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The World Health Organization addressed the new COVID-19 “variant of concern” Friday night, naming it “Omicron” and issuing an ominous warning about the future.

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning,” the statement said. “Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant.”

Omicron was initially referred to as B.1.1.529.

Earlier on Friday, the European Commission issued a similar warning and proposed that its member countries activate the “emergency brake” on travel from countries in southern Africa and other affected countries to limit the spread of the variant, The New York Times reported.

Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, said Omicron has 10 mutations and many more entry points than the highly contagious Delta variant.

“All air travel to these countries should be suspended until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed by this new variant,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive arm, said in a statement. “And travelers returning from this region should respect strict quarantine rules.”

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, the following governments have halted or restricted flights from South Africa to try to curb the spread of Omicron: Bahrain, Belgium, Britain, Croatia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the travel restrictions would “buy us some time” and that “it’s not going to be possible to keep this infection out of the country. The question is: Can you slow it down?”

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CORRUPTION

Wallace Skewers Christie for Trying to ‘Save’ the GOP and Favoring Fox News

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MSNBC news host Nicolle Wallace skewered former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie while he was promoting his book, “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden.”

“Is bias more dangerous to the country than conspiracy theorists?” Wallace asked.

“No, but that’s the third section of the book where I talk about the movement forward. In the second portion of the book, we talk about the conspiracy theories and the truth-denying that went on with things like Qanon, Pizzagate, the election situation, John Birch Society… that’s what I talk about. There’s two sections of the book and I’m sure you’re conflating them,” Christie answered.

“I’m not conflating them,” Wallace said. “I don’t think it’s an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News.”

During the interview, Wallace also asked Christie if he thought former President Donald J. Trump gave him COVID-19. He denied naming Trump specifically in the contraction, but ultimately said he didn’t know who gave it to him.

See below for how Twitter has responded to the interview, which originally aired Tuesday night, and also to the news of Christie’s potential run for president in 2024.

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