The Republican chairpersons of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Jim Jordan and Mike Turner, have requested information from Secretary of State Antony Blinken concerning a public letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials prior to the 2020 presidential election.
Letter suggested laptop story might be ‘Russian disinformation’
The letter reportedly suggested that the Hunter Biden laptop story might be a Russian disinformation campaign.
In October 2020, the former intelligence officials stated in their public letter that the Hunter Biden laptop story bore “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
Letter may have undermined story before 2020 election
Republicans argue that the letter helped undermine the story’s credibility before the election.
Jordan and Turner claim that their committees recently interviewed Michael Morell, a former CIA deputy director and signatory of the public letter.
“Morell testified that on or around October 17, 2020, you (Blinken) reached out to him to discuss the Hunter Biden laptop story. At the time, you served as a senior advisor to the Biden campaign. According to Morell, although your outreach was couched as simply gathering Morell’s reaction to the (New York) Post story, it set in motion the events that led to the issuance of the public statement.”
Democrats refute Republican interpretation of Morell’s testimony
Democrats on the committee have refuted the Republicans’ interpretation of Morell’s testimony.
“Jim Jordan has released cherry-picked excerpts of a transcribed interview,” a Democratic Judiciary Committee spokesman said. “To be clear, no part of that interview demonstrates that Tony Blinken or any other Biden campaign official asked Mike Morell to write a letter about Hunter Biden’s laptop.”
The source explained that Morell held discussions with other former intelligence community officials following his conversation with Blinken, which led to the creation of the letter. Morell later informed the Biden campaign that the letter was being drafted.
Social media companies limited the sharing of Hunter’s laptop story
Before the letter was published, social media companies had already begun limiting the sharing of Hunter Biden’s laptop story on their respective platforms.
Jordan and Turner have asked Blinken to provide documents and communications related to the drafting of the public letter by May 4th.
The letter to Blinken states that “Morell also explained that the Biden campaign helped to strategize about the public release of the statement” and that “Morell further explained that one of his two goals in releasing the statement was to help then-Vice President Biden in the debate and to assist him in winning the election.”
Majority of signatories were ‘apolitical’
Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents over half a dozen signatories of the letter, said that the overwhelming majority of people who signed the letter were apolitical career intelligence officials who intended to alert the public that Russia might be using the issue, among others, to influence the 2020 US election.
The letter was reviewed by the CIA publication review board, as required for public writings by former intelligence officials.
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