A Republican opposition researcher who reportedly tried to obtain emails thought to be stolen from Hillary Clinton's private email server committed suicide days after talking to the Wall Street Journal about his efforts, according to a report Thursday.
The Chicago Tribune reviewed public records that show Peter Smith, 81, killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room, leaving behind a statement that police called a suicide note in which said he was in poor health and his life insurance policy was expiring.
He was found with a bag over his head with a source of helium attached, according to a Minnesota state death record obtained by the Tribune.
Late last month, the Journal reported a series of stories about Smith, who claimed he was engaging in a mission to obtain lost Clinton emails hacked by Russians.
Those reports noted that Smith died about a week and a half after giving an interview to the Journal, but they did not say how he died.
After the reports were published, a man claiming to have been contacted by Smith to help with the email effort wrote a first-person essay claiming he was a Journal source and that he believes Smith was working with the Trump campaign.
In a blog post published on Lawfare, cybersecurity expert Matt Tait said Smith had a "deep knowledge" of the "inner workings" of Trump's campaign.
The Journal reported that Smith implied to people he sought to participate in the email effort that he was connected to several Trump campaign officials.
Smith named the Trump officials, including Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, and Kellyanne Conway, in a recruitment document for his effort.
He had been seeking the more than 30,000 emails from Clinton's unauthorized server as secretary of state that she said were personal and deleted them rather than handing them over to investigators.
Though there is no evidence that Clinton's server had been hacked, former FBI Director James Comey said it is possible that it was breached.