Controversy and death is always a lovely combination for pundits.

Peter W. Smith, GOP operative who sought Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, committed suicide, records show | Chicago Tribune – July 14, 2017 |

A Republican donor and operative from Chicago’s North Shore who said he had tried to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing emails from Russian hackers killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room days after talking to The Wall Street Journal about his efforts, public records show.

In mid-May, in a room at a Rochester hotel used almost exclusively by Mayo Clinic patients and relatives, Peter W. Smith, 81, left a carefully prepared file of documents, including a statement police called a suicide note in which he said he was in ill health and a life insurance policy was expiring.

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The story focused on Smith's possible connections to the Trump campaign and Russian hackers. Here's how it unfolded. (Jonathon Berlin / Chicago Tribune)

In the note recovered by police, Smith apologized to authorities and said that “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER” was involved in his death. He wrote that he was taking his own life because of a “RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017” and timing related “TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING.”

One of Smith’s former employees told the Tribune he thought the elderly man had gone to the famed clinic to be treated for a heart condition. Mayo spokeswoman Ginger Plumbo said Thursday she could not confirm Smith had been a patient, citing medical privacy laws.

At BooMan’s Place:

The Collusion Case Reaches Trump’s Doorstep
Another British Spook Stands Up to Vent His Opinions

It sure is time for Donald Trump Sr. to call for the best crime fighter, legal intellect, and pinch hitter Ty Cobb, to squelch the neo-con threat … on this day 20 years ago!

Chairman Offers Defense of Senate Hearings | NY Times – July 14, 1997 |

    Urging “everyone to take a deep breath and settle down a bit,” Senator Fred Thompson responded today to criticism that the first week of Senate hearings on campaign finance abuses had been fat on grandstanding and innuendo and skimpy on details and corroborative evidence.

    Mr. Thompson, the Tennessee Republican who heads the committee holding the hearings, also stood by his explosive opening statement that the Chinese Government had tried to influence last year’s elections. And he voiced his displeasure over the partisan squabbling that erupted in the committee room each day.

    The lawyer for John Huang, a central figure in the Democratic fund-raising controversy, said his client might have violated some ”complicated” campaign finance laws.

    The lawyer, Ty Cobb, reiterated his hope that Mr. Huang would get limited immunity from prosecution so he could testify before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. But Mr. Cobb, who appeared on the CBS News program ”Face the Nation,” insisted that the committee would not be able to tie Mr. Huang to allegations that China had illegally funneled money into the elections.

Trump Taps Washington Lawyer To Become White House Special Counsel Amid Russia Probes| NPR – July 15, 2017 |

President Trump has hired a former federal prosecutor to assist in how the White House handles its response to the expanding Russia probes.

Ty Cobb, whose legal expertise lies in white-collar crime and congressional investigations, will be “in charge of overseeing the White House legal and media response” to the investigations, according to Bloomberg News.

    President Donald Trump is bringing in Washington super-lawyer Ty Cobb to run defense inside the White House on the “Russia” investigations. Cobb, who is related to the first-ever Baseball Hall of Famer, worked on the other side of the aisle when U.S. officials had to lawyer up during the Clinton administration. But he’s not a partisan and his ability to get the job done is prized by the Trump White House.

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A bio on the website of Cobb’s former firm, Hogan Lovells, says that “Clients managing crises, allegations of corruption, and other critical matters turn to Ty to guide them.”

That’s probably why the White House turned to Cobb. Over the last week, the Trump family and former campaign staffers have been under mounting scrutiny in the wake of Donald Trump Jr.’s disclosure that he, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer and a Russian-American lobbyist who Trump Jr. was told would have incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

Cobb will work alongside White House counsel Donald McGahn. He’ll coordinate with Trump’s personal lawyer on Russia matters, Marc Kasowitz. ”

‘Brilliant’ criminal law expert joins Mueller’s team on Russia probe | Chicago Tribune – June 9, 2017 |

Justice Department deputy solicitor general Michael Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court, is the department’s go-to lawyer on criminal justice cases and is highly respected by Democrats and Republicans because of his encyclopedic knowledge of criminal law.

Dreeben will work part time for Mueller, according to Justice officials, while he continues to oversee the department’s criminal appellate cases. Former and current Justice Department officials say that Mueller’s recruitment of Dreeben shows how serious he is about the investigation and signals complexities in the probe.

“Michael is the most brilliant and most knowledgeable federal criminal lawyer in America – period,” said Walter Dellinger, a law professor at Duke University School of Law and acting solicitor general for the 1996-1997 term of the Supreme Court.

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