An unidentified someone dropped off a soggy laptop at a Delaware computer repair shop. Actually, they dropped off three soggy laptops, because mysterious strangers appear to be very casual about dunking their computers, as well as bad about providing a name to go with the devices. Nineteen months later, absolutely nothing had happened … until somehow Rudy Giuliani personally walked a copy of the computer’s hard drive to Rupert Murdoch for a combined Fox News/New York Post smear campaign. The entire story of how a legally blind Wilmington Trump supporter happened to acquire salacious videos of Hunter Biden, along with emails that allege meetings no one ever attended, is patently ridiculous. And it might also be criminal.
According to the story, the trio of damp computers landed in John Paul “Mac” Isaac’s repair shop in April of 2019. But metadata from the files published in the Post suggest they were created months later, in September and October of 2019. That would be between the time that Rudy Giuliani’s first set of claims about Biden’s actions in Ukraine were proven to be lies, and when Giuliani’s partners in creeping around Ukraine were arrested trying to flee the country. And while it may be true that one of the computers is now in the hands of the FBI, the reason that computer has been getting a through review may not be to Giuliani’s liking.
As NBC News reports, the subpoena included in the Post story flogged by Giuliani (and written by one of Sean Hannity’s bookers given an instant remake as a journalist), appears to be real. The FBI did ask Isaac to turn over one of the computers to them back in December.
On that computer are, supposedly, a large number of emails. That includes one that has a Ukrainian businessman thanking Hunter Biden for arranging a meeting with his father. The email conveniently lacks a date, time, or place for this meeting, making it hard to verify or disprove. Except that there appears to be no unaccounted time on Biden’s packed calendar in the days before the note was supposedly written, and there’s absolutely no evidence that Biden, a member of his staff, or anyone else, talked to the businessman in question.
That ten months have passed since the FBI seized the laptop, and it hasn’t generated any announcement from the Department of Justice, has to be disappointing to Giuliani. And Trump. However, they should prepare to be disappointed again. Because federal investigators don’t seem to be spending their time running down Trump’s already proven false conspiracy theories about Biden. Instead they’re examining the emails to see if they are part of a foreign intelligence operation.
Right now, that seems to be the limit of the information. However, in addition to his dealings with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who have been indicted for election fraud and conspiracy, including funneling foreign funds to Donald Trump, another connection has been made clear since the FBI grabbed that laptop.
On August 31, a published intelligence review described pro-Russia member of the Ukrainian legislature Andrii Derkach—Giuliani’s primary contact in Ukraine—as a conduit for spreading Russian disinformation about Biden “inside the United States through lobbyists, Congress, the media and contacts with figures close to the president.” Derkach was identified, not just as a Russia-leaning legislator, but as an active Russian asset. And the whole operation to smear Biden by passing information through agents in Ukrainian, was thought to be personally supervised by Vladimir Putin.
In 2016, Trump was able to lean on a last minute announcement about emails discovered on someone else’s laptop to gain a critical edge over Hillary Clinton in the final days before the election. Giuliani is trying very hard for a repeat of that event.
However, just last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress that one of the principle ways Russia is trying to interfere in the 2020 election is by spreading lies about Joe Biden. And Wray directly mentioned efforts to produce supposed Biden emails. Which makes it particularly interesting that back in October 2019—as Parnas and Fruman were going to jail, and shortly after the dates suggest documents on the found laptop were forged—FBI insiders indicated that Giuliani was at the center of an expanding criminal investigation.
But it’s beginning to seem that, if the FBI does have anything to say about this computer in the next two and a half weeks, it’s not going to be about Hunter Biden, or Joe Biden. It’s going to be about who acted as a bagman for Putin, shuffling disinformation around the United States in an attempt to disrupt the election.