Sen. Johnson Asks DOJ Watchdog to Probe FBI's Handling of Alleged Hunter Biden Laptop

Sen. Johnson Asks DOJ Watchdog to Probe FBI's Handling of Alleged Hunter Biden Laptop
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) speaks in Washington on Sept. 16, 2020. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)
Tom Ozimek

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has called on the Justice Department (DOJ) watchdog to review the FBI's handling of a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz in an Oct. 21 letter to investigate the FBI's handling of the laptop after allegedly taking possession of it following a grand jury subpoena last December.

A whistleblower, at whose computer repair business the laptop was allegedly left and abandoned, contacted the committee the day after it released a majority staff report titled "Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns." Johnson said the man told committee staff that he had turned over the laptop to the FBI, prompting staffers to contact the agency seeking "confirmation of certain facts in an attempt to validate the whistleblower's claims and assertions."

The FBI said it wouldn't confirm or deny any information identified by committee staff, Johnson said.

"Unfortunately, the FBI still has not provided satisfactory answers even though press reports indicate that the FBI does possess the laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden," Johnson wrote.

"The public has the right to know whether the FBI has taken steps to authenticate and, if appropriate, investigate any of the material on the laptop."

Given that the FBI has supposedly had the laptop in its possession for over 10 months, Johnson said, there are doubts about whether "all appropriate steps have been taken and procedures have been followed," hence his request to the DOJ watchdog to probe the matter.

The New York Post was the first to report about the alleged Hunter Biden laptop and its contents. The newspaper received a copy of a hard drive with emails, photos, and other files from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney for President Donald Trump. Giuliani received the hard drive from Robert Costello, his personal attorney, who had obtained the device from the owner of a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, the individual presumably identified in Johnson's letter as the "whistleblower."

The shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, claims Hunter Biden dropped off three laptops in April 2019 and requested that data be recovered from them. Isaac says Biden never returned to pick up the only laptop that was salvageable, and he claims to have turned over the device to the FBI in December last year. He provided Giuliani with a copy of the alleged subpoena the FBI used to obtain the laptop and an alleged receipt he generated for Biden.

Giuliani declined to provide a copy of the hard drive. The Epoch Times didn't independently verify the authenticity of the contents or the veracity of the laptop narrative.

The Post reports, supposedly based on data from the laptop hard drive, suggest that Hunter Biden used the influence of his father, then-Vice President Biden, to make lucrative deals with big companies from Ukraine and China.

On Oct. 20, Joe Biden said that there is “no basis” for allegations that his son profited from arranging access to his father while he served as vice president.

“None whatsoever," Biden replied. "This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchman—it’s a last-ditch effort in his desperate campaign to smear me and my family. Even the man who served with him on that committee, the former nominee for the Republican Party, said there’s no basis to this, and you know, the vast majority of the intelligence people have come out and said there’s no basis at all. Ron should be ashamed of himself.”

A Biden campaign surrogate, Jenna Arnold, conceded on Oct. 18 in an interview with Fox News that nobody has said the emails aren't authentic.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.