Feds are investigating whether or not alleged Hunter Biden emails are linked to a overseas intelligence operation
Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden attend an NCAA basketball game between Georgetown University and Duke University in Washington on January 30, 2010.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Federal investigators are investigating whether the emails allegedly describing activities by Joe Biden and his son Hunter found on a laptop in a Delaware repair shop are linked to a foreign intelligence operation, two said Matter familiar to NBC News.
The FBI seized the laptop and a hard drive through a subpoena from the grand jury. The subpoena was later published by the New York Post. The office declined to comment.
The Post, a conservative tabloid, has published a series of stories based on emails the newspaper received from President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani. The first story highlighted a so-called "Smoking Guns Email" suggesting a meeting between Vice President Biden and a representative of a Ukrainian company that once paid Hunter Biden. The Biden campaign says there is no evidence that the meeting took place and the story has been received with widespread skepticism.
George Mesires, attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement: "We have no idea where this is coming from and certainly cannot credit anything that Rudy Giuliani provided to the New York Post, but what I do know for sure is that this supposed meeting never happens. "
"The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story," said Andrew Bates, spokesman for the Biden campaign. "You certainly never mentioned that Rudy Giuliani – widely reported on his discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with people connected to Russian intelligence – claimed to have such material."
Bates added, "We checked Joe Biden's official schedules from that time and they never met as claimed by the New York Post."
Questions revolved around the Post's account, how it received the emails and other materials. The newspaper said they were found on a laptop that was left in a Delaware repair facility in April 2019 and never claimed to be. The workshop owner then took it upon himself to access the private material, said the Post.
The Post said the shopkeeper identified as Mac Isaac called the FBI and also called an employee from Giuliani. The shop owner said he believed the laptop was among the devices that Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, left behind because a sticker on the laptop bore the name of the Beau Biden Foundation, a charity named after his late brother.
President Donald Trump's attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks to journalists outside the West Wing of the White House on July 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
"Before turning the equipment over, the shopkeeper said he made a copy of the hard drive and later turned it over to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's attorney Robert Costello," the Post said. "Steve Bannon, a former adviser to President Trump, told the Post about the hard drive's existence in late September, and Giuliani provided the Post with a copy on Sunday."
It remains unclear whether the emails quoted by Swiss Post are authentic or have been processed.
Giuliani, who acknowledged that he helped bring the material to light, has attempted in the past to find information harmful to Biden with the help of a man identified by the US government as a Russian intelligence officer.
Questions about the origin of the emails have led Facebook and Twitter to restrict sharing the story, which has sparked heavy criticism from Republicans.
In an interview published by the Daily Beast, Issac, the owner of the repair shop, didn't answer important questions.
"Throughout the interview, Mac Isaac shifted from saying he went to law enforcement after viewing the files on the laptop to saying that it was indeed the FBI that contacted him," wrote the beast. NBC News reached Isaac but didn't hear about it.
The Post published a summons from the grand jury for the laptop and hard drive. The subpoena was issued by a federal prosecutor who already had the serial numbers of the devices when the handover was ordered in early December 2019, indicating that federal law enforcement agencies were aware of the specific devices they wanted to investigate.
“Other material extracted from the computer,” the Post said, “includes a slippery, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter admitting to struggling with addiction problems and smoking crack while not having one identified woman has sex. " than numerous other sexually explicit images. "
Many commentators have said it's hard to believe that Hunter Biden would ditch a Mac laptop full of incriminating information at a repair shop.
Some have speculated that the material from Hunter Biden's reports could be hacked and put on the laptop as a cover story to provide a plausible explanation for how the material was published.
According to cybersecurity experts, Burisma's networks were breached by Russian hackers in January.
Michael Kosnar, Julia Ainsley and Tom Winter contributed to this.