A Donald Trump foreign policy adviser pushed government agencies to review materials from the dark web in the summer of 2016 that he thought were Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, multiple sources with direct knowledge tell CNN.
Joseph Schmitz approached the FBI and other government agencies about material a client of his had discovered that Schmitz believed might have been Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails from her private e-mail server, sources say. The material was never verified, and sources say they ultimately believed it was fake.
His push is the latest example of Trump advisers who were mixed up in efforts to find dirt on Clinton during the presidential campaign. Schmitz was one of the first people Trump named to his campaign’s national security and foreign policy team. The team, showcased in a March 2016 photo, was thrown together early in Trump’s successful run as he faced mounting pressure to prove his ability to pull in high-level advisers who could help prepare him for the White House.
Another adviser pictured in the photo, Trump’s foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, was told by a Kremlin-connected professor that the Russian government had damaging material on Clinton. Six weeks later, Donald Trump Jr. got a message from a business associate offering similar information, leading to the Trump Tower meeting that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort attended.