U.S. Department of Justice
Attorney Work Product // May Contain Material Protected Under Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)
wrote, "we can discuss to whom it should be referred." On December 16, 2015, Smith informed Ledeen that he declined to participate in her "initiative." According to one of Smith's business associates, Smith believed Ledeen's initiative was not viable at that time.
Just weeks after Trump's July 2016 request to find the Clinton emails, however, Smith tried to locate and obtain the emails himself. He created a company, raised tens of thousands of dollars, and recruited security experts and business associates, Smith made claims to others involved in the effort (and those from whom he sought funding) that he was in contact with hackers with "ties and affiliations to Russia" who had access to the emails, and that his efforts were coordinated with the Trump Campaign.
On August 28, 2016, Smith sent an email from an encrypted account with the subject "Sec. Clinton's unsecured private email server" to an undisclosed list of recipients, including Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis. The email stated that Smith was "[j]ust finishing two days of sensitive meetings here in DC with involved groups to poke and probe on the above. It is clear that the Clinton's home-based, unprotected server was hacked with ease by both State-related players, and private mercenaries. Parties with varying interests, are circling to release ahead of the election.
On September 2, 2016, Smith directed a business associate to establish KLS Research LLC in furtherance of his search for the deleted Clinton emails. One of the purposes of KLS Research was to manage the funds Smith raised in support of his initiative. KLS Research received over $30,000 during the presidential campaign, although Smith represented that he raised even more money.
Smith recruited multiple people for his initiative, including security experts to search for and authenticate the emails. In early September 2016, as part of his recruitment and fundraising effort, Smith circulated a document stating that his initiative was "in coordination" with the Trump Campaign, "to the extent permitted as an independent expenditure organization. The document listed multiple individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign, including Flynn, Clovis, Bannon,
- 12/3/15 Email, Smith to Szobocsan & Safron.
- Szobocsan 3/29/18 302, at 1.
- 8/31/16 Email, Smith to Smith.
- 8/28/16 Email, Smith to Smith.
- Incorporation papers of KLS Research LLC, 7/26/17 Szobocsan 3/29/18 302, at 2.
- Szobocsan 3/29/18 302, at 3.
- Financial Institution Record of Peter Smith and KLS Research LLC, 10/31/17 10/11/16 Email, Smith to
- Tait 8/22/17 302, at 3; York 7/12/17 302, at 1-2; York 11/22/17 302, at 1.
- York 7/13/17 302 (attachment KLS Research, LLC, "Clinton Email Reconnaissance Initiative," Sept. 9, 2016).