Ron Johnson asks a good question, even if he may not like the eventual answer. Why didn’t the FBI make the information on Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop available to the House and Senate during the impeachment of Donald Trump? According to the New York Post, the hard drive contained information relating to the issue of potential corruption between the Bidens and Ukraine, the probe of which touched off impeachment in the first place.
There are two possibilities, both of which the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee shares with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo:
Sen. Ron Johnson is calling on FBI Director Christopher Wray to confirm or deny details regarding a laptop said to have belonged to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
Johnson, R-Wis., said in a letter to Wray obtained by Fox News that a whistleblower contacted his committee on September 24, claiming to possess a laptop that Hunter Biden left at his business, and that he had turned it over to the FBI. Johnson noted that staff immediately asked the FBI to confirm certain details in order to validate the claim, but the bureau said they would not confirm or deny any of the information included in their request.
“I have a responsibility to validate and verify the contents of any information produced to my committee,” Johnson said in his letter. “The committee must know if it receives information that could be fraudulent or not accurate.”
Johnson mentioned the possibility that the information could be the result of foreign election interference, in which case a defensive briefing would be appropriate. He also acknowledged that if the whistleblower knowingly provided false information, that could be a crime.
“For these reasons, the committee must know whether the FBI has assessed the validity of materials the whistleblower has provided, and what, if any, actions the FBI has taken since obtaining this information,” Johnson continued.
If the laptop and data are on the level, then Wray has some explaining to do. The FBI would have been duty bound to alert the congressional committees to the existence of this evidence, especially in the context of an impeachment proceeding. For that matter, it also would have been necessary in the context of a presidential contest in which a potentially corrupt politician was vying for and won the nomination from one of the two major parties. Even if the FBI couldn’t develop the information quickly, it certainly should have been able to get that information to Johnson’s committee, or the Senate Intelligence or Judiciary committees, in time for the trial.
However, the second scenario — mentioned explicitly by Johnson to Bartiromo — might explain why the FBI is still grinding its gears. If the laptop was planted by a foreign intelligence service that blended Hunter Biden’s data (hacked) with false information in the form of phony Burisma e-mails, it could take the FBI a long time to unwind the authentic from the phony. In that case, the FBI would need to remain quiet about the probe until it settled how much of this was authentic, and how much was potential disinformation and election interference. Briefing Congress could have meant a leak of the information that could get manipulated by one party or the other, depending on what was reported and when.
This scenario would explain why the Biden camp is still being cautious about denials, although it’s getting pretty late in the game for that now. If some of the e-mails are authentic while others are not, they may be parsing their words until they can see the data for themselves and point out which is which. A broad denial on their part would backfire if other e-mails and messages in the same trove get authenticated. It’s better for them to avoid committing to a position, or at least it was at first.
Unfortunately, we’re well past the stages of manipulation and spin now. The only way to settle this is to get the FBI to meet with all of the relevant congressional committees and detail their findings — if any — about the laptop. They have had almost a year to figure out which of the two most likely scenarios is true, or if neither of them are true and there’s a third scenario we haven’t yet seen.