Following a report from the New York Post that alleges to have discovered personal emails between Hunter Biden and executives at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, Congressman Mark Green signed a letter Thursday along with 18 other House Republicans demanding answers.
The revelations from the report have drawn skepticism from media outlets and others, however: The Washington Post reported that the source of the information — former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani — "was being used to feed Russian misinformation" to President Donald Trump.
According to "four former officials familiar with the matter," The Washington Post writes that the White House had been warned that Giuliani was the target of "an influence operation by Russian intelligence" in December of 2019.
How the emails were obtained
Published on Wednesday, the New York Post writes that its reporters had come into possession of email exchanges of Hunter's — email exchanges that suggest Hunter's father, Joe Biden, was aware of his son's business dealings in Ukraine, contrary to the Vice President's previous claims.
The story alleges that a computer repair shop in Delaware had come into possession of a laptop that contained explicit photos of Hunter, as well as a plethora of emails to and from Ukrainian executives at Burisma.
The New York Post writes that the shop's owner "couldn't positively identify" the laptop's owner as Hunter, but did note that the laptop had a Beau Biden Foundation sticker on it, as well as the aforementioned images and emails that would further suggest the laptop as belonging to Hunter.
The shop owner later received a federal subpoena from the FBI for the laptop in December of 2019, according to the New York Post. Before releasing the laptop, however, the New York Post writes that the store owner had made a copy of the hard drive and given it to Robert Costello, the lawyer of Giuliani.
Giuliani allegedly provided the New York Post with a copy of the hard drive on Sunday.
In one alleged email exchange from 2015, Vadym Pozharskyi, an advisor to the board of directors of Burisma, wrote the following message:
"Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to D.C. and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It's really an honor and a pleasure."
Were the emails to be legitimate, Joe Biden's claims that he had never spoken to his son about his work with Burisma — work for which Hunter was allegedly paid $50,000 - $80,000 a month — would likely be false.
In another alleged email, dated 2014, Pozharskyi wrote to Hunter and Devon Archer — Hunter's former business partner who's currently facing securities fraud and conspiracy charges — about a concern regarding the Ukrainian government attempting to "destabilize business."
"We urgently need your advice on how you could use your inﬂuence to convey a message / signal, etc. to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions."
If legitimate, this email could raise questions for lawmakers who might view Hunter's relationship with Burisma while his father was Vice President as a potential conflict of interest.
The relationship between Hunter, Joe Biden and Ukraine was also the focal point of Trump's impeachment in 2019.
On May 25, 2019, Trump requested Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for withholding $1 billion in aid to Ukraine as a means to pressure the government to remove its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in March of 2016.
Shokin's office had been investigating Burisma for charges of money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.
The joint letter demanding answers from the FBI
In the joint letter signed by Green and 18 other House Republicans, questions are raised as to why the FBI had been in possession of the information for months without releasing it to the White House.
"Most concerning in the [New York Post] article was the allegation that the FBI was in possession of this computer and hard drive back in December of 2019. This action took place right at the end of the U.S. House of Representatives' impeachment."
"A large portion of the president's legal defense case revolved around strong evidence that former Vice President Biden's son, Hunter, was peddling his influence to his father to land lucrative jobs overseas that he might not have otherwise been qualified for."
Speaking with the Home Page, Green said it may take some time to fully understand the truth, but said that he and his colleagues have "got to get to the bottom of it."
"I've seen some of the reporting on it, I'm in the midst of trying to find out what seems to be valid and what's hyperbole, but clearly what's being suggested is very concerning," Green said. "It's the potential for some pretty unprecedented corruption."
The joint letter asks of the FBI the four following questions:
- Was the FBI in possession of the laptop and hard drive that was documented in the New York Post article?
- Did the FBI take any steps to authenticate the laptop, hard drive and data that was uncovered?
- Did anyone at the FBI brief officials at the Department of Justice or at the White House since December 2019?
- Why did the New York Post have the information about this laptop and hard drive before the American people?
The joint letter can be read in its entirety by clicking here.
The New York Post story also saw unprecedented censorship on social media, with both Facebook and Twitter reducing its spread on their respective platforms.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood took to Twitter Thursday and made nine social media posts condemning the suppression of the story.
The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter — Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey — had previously agreed to testify in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on Oct. 28. The topic of censorship is likely to be pressed on the two men by Senate Republicans.
As of Friday, the FBI has not commented on the legitimacy of the information, though it remains in possession of the laptop and hard drive.