“Federal authorities, including the FBI, are investigating whether recently published emails that purport to detail the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, are connected to an ongoing Russian disinformation effort targeting the Biden campaign in the days leading up to the election,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said recently in the lead-in to an interview with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
“Congressman,” Blitzer went on, “does it surprise you at all that this information that Rudy Giuliani is peddling very well could be connected to some sort of Russian government disinformation campaign?”
An approving smile played across the congressman’s thin lips as he began his answer.
“Well we know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” Schiff replied. “That’s been clear for well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about the vice president and his son . . . the White House and others were made aware that Giuliani was being used by Russian intelligence and using Russian intelligence in the sense of meeting with an agent of the Kremlin and pushing out this Kremlin false narrative . . . clearly the origins of this whole smear are from the Kremlin.”
There’s that phrase again, “we know.” It’s the same phrase Colin Powell used 19 times in his speech to the United Nations in which he assured the world that Sadaam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.” It’s the same phrase Hillary Clinton used when she promoted the Russian collusion hoax that she herself had purchased.
A few days later, we were treated to another of these open letters from former swamp creatures who obviously want Trump gone at any cost. Even at the cost of the truth? Yes, any cost.
Fifty former U.S. intelligence community officials—our “best and brightest”—signed onto the following:
We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement —just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.
Substitute the phrase, “desperately wish” for “deeply suspicious,” and you have the true meaning of this letter.
Only a person who didn’t care about the truth could believe what Blitzer and Schiff told the credulous CNN viewers. We don’t know that the Russians had anything to do with the discovery of emails on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Blitzer reported the theory without crediting any source.
The original story reporting that the FBI was investigating Russian origins of the Hunter Biden emails came from NBC News. That article reported, “Federal investigators are examining whether emails allegedly describing activities by Joe Biden and his son Hunter and found on a laptop at a Delaware repair shop are linked to a foreign intelligence operation, two people familiar with the matter told NBC.”
That’s right, there are two anonymous sources who may not even work for the FBI but nevertheless claim to be familiar with the matter. But then CNN let it slip who the sources were: “a U.S. official and a congressional source briefed on the matter.” Who might the congressional source be that Schiffted blame to the Russians (again)? We’re supposed to dismiss the probative value of actual documents based on some vague denial by an anonymous “congressional” source and an unnamed official (who could be a Justice Department janitor for all we know.)
In response to my widely read analysis of the Hunter Biden emails and their probative value, only one person contacted me to dispute my analysis. My correspondent insisted the emails were not authenticated. That’s it. That’s literally the only argument I can find that counters the very authentic-looking emails and evidence relied upon by the New York Post.
While we can all recognize that the clash of political campaigns does not play by courtroom rules, there are some useful touchstones that provide context for just how reliable the Post’s reporting really is.
If this were a real civil case, the party who discovered these emails would confront the inculpated party and give him a chance to respond. Normally, this would take the form of a request for admission and a request that the other side to explain why these documents are not legitimate. This would force the other side to compare the document data (time, date, recipients, subject, and contents) to original emails in the accused’s control and possession. If the other side objected to the “authenticity” of the emails without explaining how they were at variance with the known authentic documents, that would usually not be acceptable.
In other words, yes, the burden of production does shift to the side in possession of the original documents when you come forward with apparently real copies of emails and texts. It doesn’t matter how you obtained the emails and texts if they are real.
In this case, there have been several indications of reliability. First, unlike the reporting on the Trump tax returns, the New York Post and Giuliani have produced images of the original documents. It’s much harder to forge original documents than it is to construct a dishonest paraphrasing.
Second, as my article mentions, the Post has explained how it came into possession of the documents. Again, this is something the New York Times did not do with its tax return reporting.
Third, when confronted with the story, the Biden campaign simply went silent and refused to answer any questions.
Fourth, several news outlets cited anonymous reports that the emails were the product of a Russian disinformation campaign—i.e. the Russians forged these emails. But this source is probably just Schiff, not anyone within the FBI or the intelligence community. The FBI has had this laptop for almost a year and has refused to corroborate CNN’s assertion that the FBI is actively investigating this angle.
Fifth is the censorship itself. If this story could be rebutted by the army of journalists and lawyers who support Biden, it would have been by now and the Biden campaign would take advantage of the boomerang effect of pushing a hoax.
Sixth, if the Russians were behind the Hunter Biden laptop, they have constructed a needlessly elaborate master plan with a vast array of seemingly innocent actors.
Nobody has really explained what they think happened. The innuendo suggests it was a Russian agent, not Hunter, who dropped off the laptop. The innuendo also suggests that the Russians hacked Hunter’s email account and then tampered with original emails to create fake evidence of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of the scandal, asking Hunter to use his influence to stop a prosecution. And these fakes are apparently so good that the Biden campaign is unable to spot and disprove the specific forged emails.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said what should be obvious to anyone familiar with the story: Nobody in the intelligence community thinks that the Russians had anything to do with Hunter’s laptop.
The simplest explanation is the one the evidence supports: It is Hunter Biden’s laptop. These are Hunter Biden’s emails.
Not only is Adam Schiff again claiming to have access to secret evidence that he doesn’t have, he’s further damaging American foreign policy by falsely accusing Russia of something it clearly did not do.
The implications of this misbehavior are profound. Under Schiff’s oversight, American intelligence has become political propaganda. Schiff should produce his evidence of a “Kremlin origin” for the Hunter laptop or he should be removed from having any responsibility for intelligence again. Otherwise, he’s just the boy who keeps crying “wolf.”
A more interesting question is why would the Democratic Party nominate two successive presidential candidates with such an obvious history of using foreign policy to enrich themselves? And why have the “intelligence professionals” once again intervened so forcefully to meddle in the election?
The answer is obvious. Both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the kind of secrets that make them easy to control.