Cyber expert was ‘recruited to collude with Russia’

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Special counsel Robert Mueller leaves following a meeting with members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed a cyber expert, who claims he was “recruited to collude with the Russians” to meddle in the US 2016 presidential election.

Mueller’s interview, conducted weeks ago and revealed on Tuesday, is part of an investigation into Moscow’s alleged role in the 2016 vote, which made Donald Trump the country’s president, Business Insider reported.

Matt Tait, a former information security specialist with the British Government Communications Headquarters, was recruited by a longtime GOP operative tied to the Trump campaign, Peter W. Smith, who later committed suicide.

“Smith implied that he was a well-connected Republican political operative,” Tait wrote in an article released on in June, adding that the GOPer believed “that Clinton’s private email server had been hacked—in his view almost certainly both by the Russian government and likely by multiple other hackers too.”

The interview was part of a broader effort by Mueller to examine the relationship between Smith, and Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn (pictured below).

“From [Smith’s] perspective it didn’t matter who had taken the emails, or their motives for doing so,” Taid noted. “He never expressed to me any discomfort with the possibility that the emails he was seeking were potentially from a Russian front, a likelihood he was happy to acknowledge.”

Days before killing himself, Smith told The Wall Street Journal in May that, “We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government.”

In a declassified report released in January, the intelligence community concluded that Russia helped with the New York billionaire’s campaign effort ahead of winning the White House, an allegation dismissed both by Moscow and Trump.

The president is now being accused of obstructing justice in the investigation process, in part due to dismissing the FBI director at the helm of the probe.