The New York Post, which says it received a copy of the laptop’s contents from Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has reported that the Hunter Biden emails they reviewed raised doubts about the former vice president’s claims he never got involved in his son’s business deals.
The Washington Post has been unable to verify the authenticity of any of the emails published by the New York Post, and the Biden campaign has disputed the New York Post’s claims about what the emails show.
Since the publication of those stories, questions have been raised by Democrats and former intelligence officials about whether the laptop or its email contents were an election-interference effort similar to the one carried out by Russian government operatives in 2016, when prominent Democrats’ email accounts were hacked and made public.
Appearing Monday on Fox Business Channel, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said “there is no intelligence that supports” the idea that the purported Hunter Biden laptop and the emails on it “are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.”
Tuesday’s carefully worded letter from the FBI to Johnson states: “Regarding the subject of your letter, we have nothing to add at this time to the October 19th public statement by the Director of National Intelligence about the available actionable intelligence. If actionable intelligence is developed, the FBI in consultation with the Intelligence Community will evaluate the need to provide defensive briefings to you and the Committee pursuant to the established notification framework.”
The letter notes that the FBI faced a severe backlash for its handling of the 2016 investigations surrounding then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and makes clear it is seeking to avoid the kind of criticism heaped upon it by the Justice Department’s inspector general, among others, for the FBI’s decision to notify Congress less than two weeks before Election Day that it had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The letter notes that, in keeping with long-standing Justice Department policy, “the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation of persons or entities under investigation, including to Members of Congress.”
“As the Inspector General firmly reminded the Department and the FBI in recent years, this policy is designed to preserve the integrity of all Justice Department investigations and the Department’s ability to effectively administer justice without political or other undue outside influences. Therefore, the FBI cannot provide any additional information in response to the enumerated questions in your letter,” Tyson wrote.
In September, Johnson released a report in coordination with another Senate committee, arguing Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine years ago constituted a conflict of interest for the Obama administration, but it did not implicate Joe Biden in any wrongdoing.