A federal investigation is underway following last week's potential political bombshell about the Biden family. Much like 2016, it involves email evidence surrounding a presidential candidate. House Democrats are claiming that Russia is behind the late-breaking revelations, but the US Director of National Intelligence says it's definitely not Russian disinformation.
House Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff are saying the emails are part of a Russian smear effort. But Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe made it very clear on Fox News, “Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” He says the FBI is investigating it as a serious matter.
The President wasted no time on the campaign trail seizing on the discovery of the emails alleged to be from Hunter Biden. "Vice President Biden, you owe the people of America an apology because it turns out you are a corrupt politician," Trump said.
The emails were exposed in a New York Post report last week. One of them seems to indicate that then-Vice President Biden met with an executive with Ukrainian gas company Burisma at his son Hunter's behest, even though Biden has long insisted he had no intimate knowledge of his son's business dealings with the company that paid Hunter $50,000 a month to sit on its board.
"Joe Biden must immediately release all emails, meetings, phone calls, transcripts, and records related to his involvement in his family's business dealings," Trump said during a recent rally.
The FBI is investigating the emails and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says the investigation has not led to a Russian disinformation connection.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is reportedly one of the sources in exposing the emails and Giuliani has admitted to working with a known Russian agent in the past to dig up dirt on the Bidens. Giuliani says the emails came from a computer repair shop owner in Delaware who contacted his office.
"And he wanted us to have this," Guiliani said. "He also thought it displayed numerous crimes, so he gave them to my lawyer we have the entire hard drive."
The Biden campaign denies any such meeting with the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma as being on his official schedule. On Friday, a reporter asked Biden about it.
"I knew you'd ask it," Biden said. "I have no response. It's another smear campaign, right up your alley. Those are the questions you always ask."
Michael O'Hanlon with the Brookings Institution says it's unclear whether there was outside interference with the Biden emails, but says it's of little consequence either way.
"My instinct is to think that there's guilt to be shared widely but I also think that it's more in the category of a misdemeanor than a felony in modern politics standards in the United States," O'Hanlon said. It doesn't rise to the level of what we saw in 2016.
There has been more fallout from this as Twitter and Facebook limited the spread of information about the New York Post report because the emails have not been verified. Some Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say the big tech companies are using censorship to play partisan politics and could subpoena the heads of Twitter and Facebook as this week.
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