Hunter Biden himself left his laptop computer at a Wilmington, Delaware, repair shop whose owner eventually gave the hard drive’s material to the FBI and later to President Trump’s attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the shop owner has told a Senate committee.
How exactly the MacBook Pro, brimming with emails about Hunter Biden’s cash flow from a Ukrainian oligarch and Chinese communist-linked industrialists, ended up abandoned has been a key question.
The New York Post, which first received and published some emails, reported that the shop owner did not recognize the man who left the computer in April 2019.
But in a letter Saturday to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, disclosed that the shop owner, identified in media reports as John Paul Mac Isaac, told the panel directly that Hunter Biden dropped off the machine.
It would be a federal crime to mislead a congressional committee on such an important fact.
Mr. Johnson said that on Sept. 24, the day after his committee issued a report on how Hunter Biden profited from his father, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, “a whistleblower contacted my committee and informed my staff that he had possession of a laptop left in his business by Hunter Biden.”
DOCUMENT: Letter to FBI from Ron Johnson concerning Senate's Hunter Biden report
This would appear to discredit allegations from Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that the emails are part of a Russian disinformation operation.
No one in the Biden camp, including Hunter Biden’s attorney, has challenged the emails’ authenticity. No person listed in email threads has come forward to debunk their genuineness.
The chain of custody appears to be from the shop owner to Robert Costello, Mr. Giuliani’s attorney, to Mr. Giuliani to the New York Post. Mr. Giuliani said he has retained a large amount of data to be released soon.
The emails show that an executive at Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, which paid Hunter Biden millions of dollars as a board member, was able to meet with Vice President Biden in Washington in 2015 thanks to the son. The Biden campaign said the executive was not on the vice president’s official schedule but they might have met briefly.
The emails also show Hunter Biden was guaranteed $10 million annually from a corrupt Chinese billionaire for what Hunter Biden called “introductions alone.”
Another email says a company was being set up for which the “big guy” would receive a 10% stake. Fox News reported that an email participant identified the “big guy” as Vice President Biden. The Democratic presidential nominee declined to comment Friday when a reporter asked him about his son’s business dealings.
Why the shop owner initially told the press he did not know who left the computer is not known. Normal business practices dictate that a ticket or receipt is created with the computer’s owner’s name, address and phone number. The shop owner said he tried calling the customer with no luck and eventually took ownership as stipulated in the repair agreement.
In his Saturday letter, Mr. Johnson accused the FBI of stonewalling his committee.
“Unfortunately, several days later, the FBI responded that it would not confirm or deny any information identified by the committee even though several of our questions were not related to the possible existence of an ongoing grand jury investigation,” Mr. Johnson told Mr. Wray.
“As my staff explained to FBI officials, this information is crucial for several reasons,” he said. “For example, if any information offered to the committee was linked to a foreign adversary’s attempt to interfere in the election, I would expect the FBI to ensure the committee is protected and receives a defensive briefing. Similarly, knowingly providing false information to Congress is a crime, and I would expect the FBI to have informed me if, after having been given notice of what we received, this may have occurred. That is precisely why my staff reached out to the FBI.”
The letter posed Mr. Wray a series of questions, such as whether the bureau in fact took custody of the hard drive and whether the FBI had come to any conclusions and found any evidence of crimes.
“Has the FBI determined whether these records were generated or authored by Hunter Biden? Has the FBI determined whether these records are a result from someone hacking Hunter Biden’s computer?” Mr. Johnson asked.
Mr. Giuliani, in an interview with the Daily Caller, said it was Hunter Biden who turned over the computer.
He gave this account: “My lawyer was contacted by this gentlemen who owned this store that fixes hard drives. Hunter Biden had come into the store probably a year earlier. Turned over three devices. The guy couldn’t fix one. Fix the other immediately. Had to keep the hard drive. Hunter Biden came back in two days and brought him some kind of a keyboard that would help, and within a fairly short period of time he had it fixed and then he started calling Biden to pick it up. Couldn’t get any answer. Couldn’t get any response. Didn’t get paid.
“And for some reason Hunter Biden never showed up. One of the reasons may be that the gentleman says that Hunter Biden was so drunk that he had a little trouble even getting his name out. And since I’ve now looked at the hard drive I find that to be very credible because, this is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it looks like he’s high on crack about every other day for the last five or six years,” Mr. Giuliani said.
The timeline would be that the owner turned over the hard drive and then the computer by December 2019. Months later, after getting no response from unidentified Republicans, he provided it to Mr. Giuliani. The Johnson committee now also has the hard drive material.
For Hunter Biden, who has been in and out of rehabilitation centers for drug and alcohol addiction, the time frame for leaving and then abandoning the computer in April 2019 was tumultuous.
An exotic dancer in the District of Columbia filed a paternity lawsuit. Hunter Biden denied having sex with the exotic dancer, but a DNA match eventually determined that he was the father. He split up with the widow of his brother, who died of brain cancer.
Breitbart News reported on a 2016 Arizona police report that showed Hunter Biden left a cocaine pipe, credit cards and two D.C. driver’s licenses in a car rental. He remarried a South African native living in California. He stayed away from the launch event for this father’s campaign.
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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