Peter W. Smith, a Republican political activist and financier from Chicago who mounted an effort to obtain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, died on May 14 after asphyxiating himself in a hotel room in Rochester, Minn. Mr. Smith’s attempts to obtain what he believed would be politically damaging emails marked the first potential evidence of coordination between members of the Trump campaign and Russian hackers, a central issue in probes by Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel received roughly $270,000 in payments linked to Saudi Arabia as part of a lobbying campaign by the Gulf kingdom against a controversial piece of terrorism legislation last year. The payments—for catering, lodging and parking—were disclosed by the public relations firm MSLGroup last week in paperwork filed with the Justice Department documenting foreign lobbying work on behalf of Saudi Arabia and other clients.
A leading candidate to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), withdrew from consideration Tuesday, providing another sign that a partisan figure might have a hard time winning confirmation to the influential law-enforcement post. “Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director,” Mr. Cornyn said.
In the weeks before President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, a federal investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government was heating up, as Mr. Comey became increasingly occupied with the probe. Mr. Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter and the progress of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. Mr. Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion, according to these people.