The office of House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe issued “purposefully misleading” remarks when he responded to Schiff’s comments about a Russian disinformation campaign surrounding Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
Over the weekend, Schiff suggested that revelations in emails that allegedly were found on a laptop that purportedly belonged to Hunter Biden were a “smear from the Kremlin,” prompting Ratcliffe to tell Fox News on Monday that the new details are not Russian disinformation.
“Director Ratcliffe is purposefully misrepresenting Chairman Schiff’s words in an effort to mislead the public and validate the latest attacks by President Trump and his allies on Vice President Biden,” a statement by Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland read.
Boland noted that Ratcliffe earlier this year said Russia and China would attempt to engage in election interference in 2020.
“The new wave of attacks we are seeing on Vice President Biden are consistent with the false and unsubstantiated narratives that the President, his personal lawyer, and a sanctioned Russian agent have been pushing for well over a year,” Boland said. “They appear intended to distract from recent reports that the White House, as early as December 2019, was made aware that Rudy Giuliani was being leveraged by Russian proxies as part of Kremlin efforts to interfere in our election.”
Earlier on Monday, Ratcliffe said he has seen no evidence suggesting Russian disinformation campaigns are tied to the alleged Hunter Biden emails that were the subjects of a New York Post report last week. Joe Biden’s campaign and Hunter Biden’s lawyer both denied that a meeting between the former vice president and a Ukrainian gas company official ever took place in 2015, which is what the NY Post reported, citing the emails.
Neither Biden’s campaign or Hunter Biden’s lawyers disputed the authenticity of the emails. Schiff also did not dispute their authenticity.
Ratcliffe also asserted that Schiff “wants anything against his preferred political candidate” Biden considered “not real.”
“Don’t drag the intelligence community into this. Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” he said on Fox News.
Biden’s laptop was allegedly left at a computer repair shop last year, but the owner told news outlets that neither the laptop nor hard drive were ever picked up. A copy of the drive was provided to the FBI and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani later provided a copy to the Post.
Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, told The Epoch Times last week he and his attorney, Robert Costello, checked some of the written notes in the drive against samples of Hunter Biden’s handwriting, matched details about undisclosed meetings with confidential information they had already obtained from other sources, and verified the email addresses in the data trove, among other steps. Giuliani said the drive contains roughly 800 of Hunter Biden’s personal photos, including some which Giuliani alleges show illegal acts. The Epoch Times could not independently verify the claim as Giuliani declined to provide a copy of the files.
The Post’s article described alleged Hunter Biden emails that suggest in late March or April of 2016 he introduced his father, Joe Biden, who was the vice president at the time, to a top executive from Ukrainian gas firm Burisma. At the time, Hunter Biden held a paid position on the board of Burisma. “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the alleged email reads.
The executive, Vadym Pozharskyi, was in Washington not long before the alleged April 17, 2015 email was sent, according to the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The Biden campaign told Politico that there is no formal record of a meeting, but did not rule out that Biden and Pozharskyi met informally.
Schiff also suggested on CNN that claims of possible corruption in the Biden family—the subjects of a Senate GOP investigation—are politically motivated.
“We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” Schiff said. “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.”
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.