Maddow busts GOP Senate staffer involved in Russia investigation who did her own private search for Clinton’s emails

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During her Thursday show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow brought up the bizarre connections to Republicans activists and Congressional employees that were working on their own Hillary Clinton investigation.

Maddow said that it sounds like something that’s almost made up. An old Republican operative named Peter Smith gave a essentially a final confession to a reporter that he was on a “mad hunt” for Clinton’s emails that had been possibly hacked or stolen by the Russians. He then killed himself. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now interviewing a confidant of Peter Smith’s and reached out to his estate to collect the documents that he had. Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have asked for the documents Smith gathered.

The interesting part of the story goes to a conservative activist named Barbara Ledeen “who works for the Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley,” Maddow explained. Her husband Michael Ledeen helped Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn write the book The Field of Flight.

“Turns out that during the lead up to the 2016 presidential campaign, Barbara Ledeen, like old Peter Smith, Barbara Ledeen, she, too, launched her own private investigation into trying to get Hillary Clinton’s e-mails,” Maddow continued. “And the reason we know that, is because her quest ended up in redacted FBI files and this month, a source told The Guardian newspaper.”

It’s newsworthy, Maddow said, because someone in Congress should probably explain why the staffer of a U.S. senator was working to get Clinton’s emails.

“We’ve got these three committees on Capitol Hill that have their own Russia investigations going on now for months, right? House Intelligence, Senate Intelligence, Senate Judiciary,” Maddow noted, explaining that Ladeen use to work for the Senate Judiciary Committee and now works for the chair of the committee. “Barbara Ladeen was a Senate Judiciary staffer, not just while her husband was writing a book with Mike Flynn, who’s at the center of this investigation, but also while she was mounting her own private investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.”

Ladeen remains a Senate Judiciary staffer to this day and Maddow called it a strange situation for Sen. Grassley and his committee to be in.

“Now that the Senate Intelligence Committee down the hall and the House Intelligence Committee and the special counsel’s office are all showing interest in these conservative activists seeking out foreign hackers to try to find Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, in all of those other committees and in the special counsel’s office, they’re interviewing people with firsthand knowledge of those efforts,” Maddow explained. “They’re going so far to as obtain documents from a dead man’s estates about those efforts. And the Senate Judiciary Committee has a staff member on board, who is also involved in that same kind of effort herself.”


Grassley’s spokesperson explained that Ladeen works in the judicial nominations unit and doesn’t have any access to the committee’s investigative materials other than through public records requests.

“She was instructed not to do any further follow up on this project of hers once the committee learned of her involvement,” the spokesperson said.

Maddow noted that they did not clarify when they found out about her private investigation or why they asked her to stop.

Meanwhile Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced they’re no longer working together on the Russia investigation because Grassley would prefer to focus on investigating Hillary Clinton.

Watch Maddow’s full report below:


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