The New York Post’s Biden laptop story continues to ripple across the media and politics this week. In a Monday morning interview, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe slapped down claims the laptop is part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Since the initial article was released by the Post on October 14th, Former Vice President Biden, multiple news outlets and influencers on social media have claimed the laptop and its contents are part of a stepped up Russian effort to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.
In response, DNI Ratcliffe told Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business in no uncertain terms that neither he nor the intelligence community had any evidence the emails obtained by the Post were part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
“Let me be clear, the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that. And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff, or any member of Congress that Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of some disinformation campaign. It’s simply not true,” said Ratcliffe
On Friday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said, “We know this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” in an interview with on CNN. Later in the interview, Chairman Schiff claimed, “The President is only too happy to have Kremlin help in trying to amplify it.”
Push to Label Hunter Biden Laptop as Russian Disinformation
As early as the afternoon of October 14th, Politico published a story stating the laptop and email releases showed no “immediate indication of Russian involvement” but that, “its general thrust mirrors a narrative that US intelligence agencies have describes as part of an active Russian disinformation effort aimed at the 2020 election.”
MSNBC Senior Producer Kyle Griffin pointed to Russian disinformation as the source for the damaging emails on October 14th as well. Linking to an Axios story, titled, “US Sanctions Ukrainian Lawmaker for Election Interference Targeting Biden,” Griffin tweeted:
“Flashback: Just last month. A Ukrainian lawmaker who met with Rudy Giuliani as part of Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on Biden ‘has been an active Russian agent for over a decade.’”
The media coverage on Friday continued in this same vein. The New York Times published a story claiming intelligence agencies warned President Trump in early summer about the possibility Russian intelligence agents were using Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to launder disinformation about candidate Joe Biden.
The NY Times article goes on to outline conflicting accounts of two former executive branch officials on a presentation given by National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien. One former official called the report “unverified and vague”. The other described the information as “solid and credible”.
On Saturday evening, CBS reporter Bo Erickson asked candidate Biden about his response to the NY Post story about Hunter. Mr. Biden responded, “I know you’d ask it. I have no response. It’s another smear campaign, right up your alley.”
Some of Erickson’s CBS collegues defended his asking Mr. Biden about the story. Paula Reid stated that it was fine to attack the story, “but why personally insult Bo?”
Ms. Reid took heat from media members and former Obama officials alike for her defense of Erickson. Host of Pod Save America and former Obama Administration advisor Ben Rhodes was blunt in his criticism of Erickson. Responding to Reid on Twitter, Rhodes said, “Maybe because Bo is acting as the far end of a Russian disinformation operation.”Meanwhile, Eric Garland, writer and owner of consulting firm Competitive Futures, accused Reid and Erickson of “spreading propaganda from criminals who colluded directly with Russian intelligence.”