Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Monday said that Hunter Biden’s laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” amid claims from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff suggesting otherwise.
Ratcliffe, during an exclusive interview on FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria,” was asked about the allegations from Schiff, D-Calif., who over the weekend said that the Hunter Biden emails suggesting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had knowledge of, and was allegedly involved in, his son’s foreign business dealings.
“It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence,” Ratcliffe said. “Unfortunately, it is Adam Schiff who said the intelligence community believes the Hunter Biden laptop and emails on it are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.”
He added: “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.”
Ratcliffe went on to say that it is “simply not true.”
“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said, adding again that “this is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”
Ratcliffe’s comments come after Schiff over the weekend described the emails as being part of a smear coming “from the Kremlin,” amid claims the revelations are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
“We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” Schiff said on CNN. “That’s been clear for well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about this vice president and his son.”
A senior intelligence official backed up Ratcliffe's assessment.
"Ratcliffe is 100% correct," the senior intelligence official told Fox News. "There is no intelligence at this time to support Chairman Schiff's statement that recent stories on Biden's foreign business dealings are part of a smart campaign that 'comes from the Kremlin.' Numerous foreign adversaries are seeking to influence American politics, policies, and media narratives. They don't need any help from politicians who spread false information under the guise of intelligence."
Ratcliffe went on to say that the laptop is “in the jurisdiction of the FBI.”
“The FBI has had possession of this,” he said. “Without commenting on any investigation that they may or may not have, their investigation is not centered around Russian disinformation and the intelligence community is not playing any role with respect to that.”
He added: “The intelligence community has not been involved in Hunter Biden’s laptop.”
A senior Trump administration official, however, told Fox News that the FBI was not investigating the emails as Russian disinformation.
The FBI declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, as is standard practice.
Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating Hunter Biden’s emails which reveal that he introduced his father, the former vice president, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015.
Ratcliffe went on to say that his role as director of National Intelligence, which he assumed earlier this year, is “to not allow people to leverage the intelligence community for a political narrative that’s not true.”
“In this case, Adam Schiff saying this is part of a disinformation campaign and that the intelligence community has assessed and believes that — that is simply not true,” he said. “Whether its Republicans or Democrats, if they try to leverage the intelligence community for political gain, I won’t allow it.”
Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating Hunter Biden's emails.
The emails in question were first obtained by the New York Post and, in part, revealed that Hunter Biden introduced the then-vice president to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings less than a year before he pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the company.
"We regularly speak with individuals who email the committee’s whistleblower account to determine whether we can validate their claims," Johnson told Fox News. "Although we consider those communications to be confidential, because the individual in this instance spoke with the media about his contact with the committee, we can confirm receipt of his email complaint, have been in contact with the whistleblower, and are in the process of validating the information he provided.”
The Post report revealed that Biden, at Hunter’s request, met with Vadym Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington, D.C.
The meeting was mentioned in an email of appreciation, according to the Post, that Pozharskyi sent to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015 — a year after Hunter took on his lucrative position on the board of Burisma.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email read.
But Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates last week hit back against the New York Post story, saying: “Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”
“The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story. They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani—whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported—claimed to have such materials,” Bates continued. “Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”
The Biden campaign also told Fox News Sunday that the former vice president “never had a meeting” with Pozharskyi.
Biden, prior to the emails surfacing, repeatedly has claimed he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
Hunter Biden’s business dealings, and role on the board of Burisma, emerged during the Trump impeachment inquiry in 2019.
Biden once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin, who was the top prosecutor at the time. He had been investigating the founder of Burisma.
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden infamously said to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
“Well, son of a b---,” he continued. “He got fired.”
Biden and Biden allies have maintained, though, that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but rather was tied to corruption concerns.
Meanwhile, the Post reported Wednesday the emails were part of a trove of data recovered from a laptop which was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
The Post reported that other material turned up on the laptop, including a video, which they described as showing Hunter smoking crack while engaged in a sexual act with an unidentified woman, as well as other sexually explicit images.
The FBI reportedly seized the computer and hard drive in December 2019. The shop owner, though, said he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.
The Post reported that the FBI referred questions about the hard drive and laptop to the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, where a spokesperson told the outlet that the office “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not comment on specifics, but instead told the Post that Giuliani “has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence.”
Giuliani did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
Another email, dated May 13, 2017, and obtained by Fox News, includes a discussion of “renumeration packages” for six people in a business deal with a Chinese energy firm. The email appeared to identify Hunter Biden as “Chair/ Vice Chair depending on an agreement with CEFC,” in an apparent reference to now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co.
The email includes a note that “Hunter has some office expectations he will elaborate.” A proposed equity split references “20” for “H” and “10 held by H for the big guy?” with no further details.
Fox News spoke to one of the people who was copied on the email, who confirmed its authenticity.
Sources also told Fox News that “the big guy” was a reference to the former vice president. The New York Post initially published the emails, and others, that Fox News has also obtained.
While Biden has not commented on that email, or his alleged involvement in any deals with the Chinese Energy firm, his campaign said it released the former vice president’s tax documents and returns, which do not reflect any involvement with Chinese investments.
Fox News also obtained an email last week that revealed an adviser of Burisma Holdings, Vadym Pozharskyi, wrote an email to Hunter Biden on May 12, 2014, requesting “advice” on how he could use his “influence to convey a message” to “stop” what the company considers to be “politically motivated actions.”
“We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc .to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions,” Pozharskyi wrote.
The email, part of a longer email chain obtained by Fox News, appeared to be referencing the firm’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, being under investigation.