Former Attorney General William Barr argued the effort by dozens of former intelligence officials to cast doubt on the Hunter Biden laptop revelations by baselessly suggesting Russia involvement “probably affected the outcome” of the 2020 presidential race.
The 51 former spy officials who signed a letter suggesting Russia was involved with the laptop saga are now largely silent about why they weighed in on the story weeks before the election. Despite offering no proof, President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, along with many in the media, dismissed the October 2020 laptop story as being part of a Russian disinformation operation, with Biden citing the letter in a debate with then-President Donald Trump, which Barr critiqued.
Conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt asked Barr on Tuesday about four “interventions” in presidential elections and which was most “material” to the outcome. Hewitt’s examples were Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh issuing an indictment against former Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Willard Weinberger just four days before the election between then-President George H.W. Bush and future President Bill Clinton in 1992, debate moderator Candy Crowley inserting herself on President Barack Obama’s side during a debate with then-candidate Mitt Romney, Russian influence efforts in the 2016 race between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Facebook and Twitter censoring stories about the laptop just before the 2020 election.
“Well, the ones that stick with me are Walsh and the laptop — the intelligence officials suggesting that it was Russian disinformation in order to essentially keep a cork in it until after the election,” Barr replied. “I do think that that, given how close the election was, you know, I think that that probably affected the outcome, or at least there is a very distinct probability of that. The same, I think, with Walsh.”
Joe Biden called the laptop story “garbage” and part of a “Russian plan” and cited the letter. He was referring to a Politico report about the letter in an article titled “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” The title was misleading because the letter never directly called the laptop Russian “disinformation.” The laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” the officials claimed, but they admitted that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.” But the letter also referred to “our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue.”
A recent report from the New York Times said emails from the laptop were authentic, which multiple other outlets had previously concluded. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating Hunter Biden for foreign lobbying violations related to his overseas business dealings, in addition to scrutinizing his taxes.
Barr had expounded on all of this on Monday, criticizing the president’s falsehoods and the decision by former intelligence officials to influence the race.
“I was very disturbed during the debate when candidate Biden lied to the American people about the laptop,” Barr said on America Reports on Fox News. “He was squarely confronted with the laptop, and he suggested that it was Russian disinformation and pointed to the letter written by intelligence people that was baseless, which he knew was a lie. And I was shocked by that.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 3/22/2022) (Archive)