Carolyn Kaster / AP

A Republican operative named Peter W. Smith sought out Clinton campaign emails from hackers before the 2016 presidential election, and said he was discussing the matter with Michael Flynn, the Wall St Journal reports. Flynn at the time was serving as an advisor to then-candidate Trump

The WSJ reports Smith and his colleagues considered Flynn and his consulting company "allies in their quest." Eric York, a computer security expert who searched on behalf of Smith for people who had access to the hacked emails told the Journal Smith said, "'I'm talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?'"

The Russia connection: Smith said he and his colleagues found two of the five hackers claiming to have Clinton's emails were Russians.

Flynn did not respond to requests for comment. A Trump campaign official said Smith didn't work for the campaign and that if Flynn coordinated with Smith on the matter, it would have been as a private citizen. Smith died May 14, ten days after the WSJ interviewed him.

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Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 19,189,737 — Total deaths: 716,669 — Total recoveries — 11,610,192Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 4,917,050 — Total deaths: 160,702 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (L) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speak to the media on Capitol Hill. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Trump should sign executive orders unilaterally addressing coronavirus stimulus spending after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again on Friday.

Why it matters: Friday was viewed as a self-imposed deadline to negotiate a new relief bill. But after an intense week of negotiations on Capitol Hill, White House and Democratic leadership failed to reach a deal on delivering much needed aid to Americans and businesses.

Counterintelligence chief: Russia aiming to “denigrate” Biden ahead of election

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, before Congress in 2018. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before the November election.

Why it matters: Evanina warned that some Kremlin-linked actors are trying to support President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television, while others are spreading false claims about corruption to undermine Biden and the Democratic Party.