In emails published Wednesday by House Oversight Committee Republicans, President Joe Biden’s White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates has been implicated in the effort to paint Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation during the 2020 presidential election.
According to the Wednesday report, Nick Shapiro, former CIA senior adviser, drafted a media pitch for the now-discredited letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials that attempted to frame the laptop at the center of the bombshell New York Post story in October 2020 as a Russian operation.”Giving this to you exclusively first if you guys want to run with it,” wrote Shapiro in his pitch to media outlets, according to an October 19, 2020, email.
“You can also use this on the record from me, Nick Shapiro, describing what this is: ‘A large group of former career intelligence officers, many specializing in Russia, joined by a group of former intelligence community leaders, are all saying that they believe the Russians were somehow involved here.’”
“The ICE leaders who have signed this letter worked for the past four presidents, including Trump,” the Shapiro statement continued. “The real power here, however, is the number of former working level icy officials, who won the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering.”
According to the Republican report, Shapiro shopped the letter to Politico, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post. He then forwarded the letter to Bates, adding, “This is what I gave them.”
Politico published the letter the next day, two weeks before the election. “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say,” tweeted Bates while sharing Politico’s story.
Jen Psaki, later named Biden’s White House press secretary, tweeted, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
“If we see tonight from Donald Trump these attacks on Vice President Biden’s family, I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian disinformation,” said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager for Biden, who later served as White House communications director.
During his final debate against former President Trump, Biden brought up the letter, saying the laptop was a “bunch of garbage” and a “Russian plant.”
“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant,” said Biden then. “Five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except his good friend Rudy Giuliani.
“Biden continued to push the Russian theory that December, telling a reporter, “Yes, yes, yes” when asked if he believed Hunter’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
The New York Post was the first to report laptop, three weeks before 2020 election
The New York Post first reported on the younger Biden’s laptop three weeks before the 2020 election, resulting in widespread censorship of the article on various social media platforms. According to Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files,” Twitter, which censored the report, was working closely with the FBI at the time.
Michael Morell, former CIA Deputy Director, testified to the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees last month that Biden’s then-campaign senior adviser, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “played a role in the inception” of the letter seeking to discredit the story, signed by intelligence officials.
GOP House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, along with Republican Mike Turner, House Intelligence Committee Chairman, sent a letter to Blinken saying, “Based on Morell’s testimony, it is apparent that the Biden campaign played an active role in the origins of the public statement, which had the effect of helping to suppress the Hunter Biden story and preventing American citizens from making a fully informed decision during the 2020 presidential election.”
Additionally, Morell said he received a call from Biden’s White House counselor Steve Ricchetti, who served as the chairman of the 2020 campaign, after the October 22 debate. Morell said the purpose of the call was to thank him for spearheading the letter.
House Oversight GOP members held a press conference on Wednesday where they revealed the Biden family and business associates formed over 20 companies and received more than $10 million from foreign nationals, including Romania and China, during the time Joe Biden served as vice president.
It also confirmed that some of the payments could show attempts by the Biden family to “peddle influence.”
The committee says it is continuing to investigate “the opaque corporate structure of particular Biden-affiliated companies, those companies’ complicated connections with each other, whether these companies maintained books and records, and why certain foreign nationals sought to partner with and engage in businesses with specific Biden family members and their companies.
“The White House slammed the committee’s investigation as “politically motivated” and “evidence-free.” It also maintained that the president has never been involved in Hunter Biden’s business dealings.