National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said on Monday that the recently released emails purporting to document Hunter Biden’s business relationship are not linked to a Russian disinformation effort, although federal authorities have continued to examine whether the material was part of such a campaign.
Ratcliffe, in an interview with Fox Business, did not elaborate on the basis of his conclusion, although he admitted to knowing “little” about the material published by the New York Post.
The FBI, according to a person familiar with the case, has at least partially investigated whether the material, allegedly taken from a laptop belonging to Biden and provided to the newspaper by Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer for the President Donald Trump, could be linked to a Russian influence operation aimed at undermining Biden’s father and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
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“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of a Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe told Fox, while quickly adding that the intelligence community “was not involved.”
According to the New York Post account, the computer data was provided to Giuliani by the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop where a laptop computer was left in service last year but was never claimed. by the customer.
The director said the computer was in the possession of the FBI, adding that the office’s investigation was not “focusing” on a possible Russian disinformation effort.
FBI officials declined to comment, refusing to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.
U.S. intelligence officials warned last month that Russia was working to disparage Joe Biden ahead of next month’s presidential election.
The analysis, released by the head of the National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, also concluded that China viewed Trump as “unpredictable” and preferred that he not win another term, while Iran worked to foment division and undermine Trump ahead of Election 2020.
Robert Costello, an attorney representing Giuiliani, declined to provide a copy of the material for further review, beyond what was published in the New York Post.
The authenticity of the emails could not be determined by USA TODAY.
Representatives for the New York Post, meanwhile, did not respond to requests for comment.
The development comes less than two weeks before the 2020 election, and as Trump urged the Justice Department to punish Biden and other Obama administration officials for his continued investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.