- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2022

House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee sent out letters Wednesday demanding answers from the 51 former intelligence officials who claimed reports of emails from Hunter Biden‘s laptop detailing influence-peddling before the 2020 presidential election were Russian disinformation.

Republicans are looking for responses from the former intel officials who dismissed the contents of a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden almost two years ago. More media outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, have authenticated the younger Biden‘s emails, prompting the GOP to prepare for hearings if they capture the majority in November.

In their letter to the former intel officials, the GOP lawmakers write, “The concerted effort to suppress public dissemination of the serious allegations about Hunter Biden and the Biden family, as first reported in October 2020 by the New York Post, was a grave disservice to American citizens’ informed participation in our democracy.”

They add, “We are investigating the role that the public statement played in this effort.”

All letter signers are asked to provide the names of all people they communicated with about the inception, drafting, editing, signing, publishing, or promotion of the “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails.”  

Additionally, the Republican lawmakers want all documents and communications relating to the “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails” dated October 19, 2020. The former intel officials are given an April 20 deadline.

Five days after The New York Post published its first story about the laptop, which contained emails, texts, financials and other documents revealing the first son’s foreign business dealings, the former 51 intel officials signed a public letter that cast doubt on the authenticity of the laptop’s contents. They said it had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

The letter was signed by people who worked “for presidents of both political parties,” though a majority of the officials were Democrats.

They included former CIA Director Michael Hayden, now an analyst for CNN; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN contributor; former CIA head and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who now runs a public policy institute at California State University; former CIA Director John Brennan, currently an analyst for NBC and MSNBC; former National Intelligence Council chair Thomas Fingar, who now teaches at Stanford University, and Rick Ledgett, former National Security Agency deputy director, now a director at M&T Bank.

The New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden‘s laptop was suppressed on social media platforms, and The Post’s Twitter account was locked for two weeks.

Republicans attribute blame to the former intel officials’ letter for causing the suppression of The New York Post’s story.

“Your public statement was consistent with a broader effort to minimize and censor the New York Post’s reporting about Hunter Biden and the Biden family. National news organizations called the allegations about Hunter Biden‘ dubious’ and a ‘non-scandal,” the Republican lawmakers wrote. “These efforts likely affected public awareness of the serious allegations surrounding the Biden family in the crucial weeks before the 2020 election.”

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They added, “At best, the public statement was a reckless attempt by you and your co-signatories to erroneously opine about purported election interference. At worse—and more likely—the public statement was a deliberate and coordinated effort to mislead the American people about information relevant to the 2020 presidential election by invoking your national security experience to falsely suggest that the allegations about Hunter Biden were not based in fact.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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