WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees demanded interviews Monday from leaders of the coterie of 51 former intelligence officials who implied that The Post’s bombshell 2020 reports on Hunter Biden’s laptop were based on Russian misinformation.
A GOP congressional source said that Republicans are prepared to force the testimony with subpoenas if the ex-spooks refuse to appear voluntarily.
“Subpoenas are very likely and the intelligence officials know it. Why not just cooperate now?” the source told The Post.
Among those asked to sit for questioning are former CIA directors Michael Hayden and John Brennan and ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who were the best-known figures to claim the laptop story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who leads the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), who heads the intelligence panel, asked the men to “immediately comply in full” and book a “transcribed interview” to discuss their role in the saga.
“You have been on notice about our oversight request—and aware the request is
outstanding—for months,” the legislators wrote, referring to a prior April 2022 letter from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.
The earlier request asked recipients to “identify all people with whom you communicated about the inception, drafting, editing, signing, publishing, or promotion” of the statement and to provide “all documents and communications referring or relating to” that effort.
The spooks’ Oct. 19, 2020, public warning about the laptop followed unprecedented Big Tech censorship — by Facebook and Twitter — of The Post’s reporting on documents linking then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to his son Hunter and brother James Biden’s business deals in China and Ukraine.
Biden, who won the presidency weeks later, brandished the false insinuation by former intelligence leaders to deny the authenticity of documents from his son’s laptop.
“Look, there are 50 former National Intelligence folks who said that what this, he’s accusing me of, is a Russian plan,” Biden said during the final debate with then-President Donald Trump. “They have said that this has all the characteristics — four — five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except him, his, and his good friend Rudy Giuliani.”
Trump exclaimed on the debate stage, “You mean, the laptop is now another Russia, Russia, Russia hoax? You gotta be–“
“That’s exactly what. That’s exactly what—” Biden replied as Trump hectored him.
Hunter Biden all but admitted that the laptop was his last week — more than two years later — when he asked for state and federal criminal investigations of repairman John Paul Mac Isaac and various Trump allies for allegedly mishandling his computer files.
Mac Isaac has provided evidence that Hunter Biden dropped the laptop at his Delaware shop before failing to retrieve it. Mac Isaac also shared paperwork showing he gave the device to the FBI in December 2019 before later providing copied records to The Post via Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Other former intelligence officials asked to testify by Jordan and Turner include former CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash, former NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett and former undersecretary of defense for intelligence Michael Vickers.
Former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center Russell Travers, former CIA official Nick Shapiro, former National Counterterrorism Center director Nicholas Rasmussen, former assistant secretary of state for intelligence Thomas Fingar and former deputy CIA director John McLaughlin also received letters.
The demands come as three former Twitter employees, including former company lawyer and onetime FBI general counsel James Baker, prepare to testify Wednesday before the House oversight committee — amid lingering questions about the possible role of officials in censorship of the laptop story.
The FBI paid Twitter $3.5 million from October 2019 to February 2021 to process the bureau’s moderation requests, according to a document released by new Twitter owner Elon Musk.
The Post’s first laptop bombshell — published five days before the spy-alum letter — revealed that Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive at the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, emailed Hunter in 2015 to thank him for the “opportunity to meet your father” — directly contradicting Biden’s 2019 claim that he’d “never spoken” with his son about “his overseas business dealings.”
The Biden campaign vaguely denied that the meeting occurred. But further reporting corroborated key details, including the fact that Joe Biden attended a 2015 DC dinner one day before the Burisma exec’s email. A group of his son’s associates, including Pozharskyi and a Kazakhstani trio that posed for a photo with the Bidens, attended.
Hunter even invited Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, ex-Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, to the dinner — though it’s unclear if either attended. A 2020 report from a Republican-led Senate committee alleges that Baturina in 2014 paid $3.5 million to a firm associated with Hunter Biden. Baturina is one of a dwindling number of Russian oligarchs yet to face Biden administration sanctions over Russia’s more than 11-month-old invasion of Ukraine.
Hunter earned up to $1 million per year to serve on the Burisma board from 2014 to 2019, beginning when his father was put in charge of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. Visitor logs show Joe Biden met with his son’s since-jailed business partner Devon Archer in 2014 around the time both Hunter Biden and Archer joined the Burisma board.
A second October 2020 bombshell from The Post — published four days before the ex-spies’ statement — described communications about Hunter Biden and his uncle Jim Biden’s business venture with the company CEFC China Energy, which was reputed to be a key cog in Beijing’s “Belt and Road” foreign influence campaign.
A May 13, 2017, email recovered from the laptop said the “big guy” would get 10% of the deal. Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski alleges that he discussed the CEFC deal with Joe Biden in May 2017 and both Bobulinski and another former Hunter Biden partner, James Gilliar, identified Joe Biden as the “big guy.”
Hunter and James Biden earned $4.8 million from CEFC China Energy in 2017 and 2018, according to the Washington Post’s later review of Hunter Biden laptop documents. An October 2017 email identifies Joe Biden as a participant in a call about CEFC’s attempt to purchase US natural gas.
Republicans have accused Biden of being too soft on China on issues such as determining the origins of COVID-19, which killed more than 1 million Americans, and stopping fentanyl exports, which killed about 196,000 Americans from 2018 to 2021 alone, as well as his management of last week’s Chinese spy balloon that traversed the US before being shot down.