In the days since Republican operative Peter W. Smith was first identified by the Wall Street Journal as having been a mysterious key player in the Trump-Russia election collusion scandal, more evidence is surfacing about Smith’s role – and his life in general. Smith died just ten days after the WSJ spoke with him. But it’s another contemporaneous event that’s now garnering more attention.
According to his obituary, Peter W. Smith died on May 14th of this year (link). That means he spoke with the WSJ on May 4th. So what happened in between those two dates? On May 9th, Donald Trump took his biggest, boldest shot at trying to end the Trump-Russia collusion investigation by controversially firing FBI Director James Comey. How does all of this fit together? Three hypothetical scenarios come to mind.
The first and most straightforward is that Smith was eighty-one years old and he coincidentally died of natural causes shortly after he spoke with the reporter. But what are the odds he just happened to drop dead right after speaking with a reporter about his role in the political conspiracy of the century? We’re still seeking his certificate of death, which is complicated by state law in Illinois, where Smith lived and died.
The second scenario is that Smith knew he was dying, and this was some sort of attempt at a deathbed confession. But if so, he didn’t tell the WSJ reporter that he was dying, and he doesn’t appear to have given away his full story. In fact the WSJ only ended up belatedly publishing the Smith story last week after UK based cybersecurity expert Matt Tait read a related headline about Michael Flynn and concluded that he should come forward with the fact that Smith had tried and failed to recruit him during the election.
The third scenario – which may be difficult to swallow on its face – is that after Smith began talking to a reporter about his role in the Trump-Russia collusion scandal, someone had him killed before he could keep talking. Vladimir Putin appears to have had several people murdered who were involved in the scandal, though none of them were Americans. But this does take us back to the fact that, just five days after Smith started squealing about his collusion role with Michael Flynn, Trump fired Comey in an attempt at preventing the investigation going further – and another five days after that, Smith was dead.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report