KEY POINTS

  • Hunter Biden suspected of shady dealings in Ukraine, though he was cleared by Senate Republicans
  • Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, himself if suspected of being under Russia’s influence
  • House Republicans want answers from the FBI by Thursday

House Republicans have asked the FBIprovide answers by Thursday on why investigators sat on allegedly damning evidence against Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, though a deeper dive finds many unanswered questions.

A report last week from the New York Post alleged it had the “smoking gun” on Hunter Biden. Initially targeted by misinformation monitors at Twitter and Facebook, the report alleges the younger Biden arranged a meeting in 2015 between his father and a board member at Ukrainian energy company Burisma where Hunter was a board member. Burisma was the target of a British money-laundering investigation in 2014.

President Donald Trump was impeached last year by the House, controlled by Democrats, after he put pressure on the current Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens' ties to Burisma. 

With weeks to go before Election Day, the Post said it had access to never-before-seen correspondence between Hunter Biden and Burisma board member Vadym Pozharskyi from 2015 when Joe Biden was vice president in the Obama administration.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to D.C. and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together,” the alleged email read. “It’s realty an honor and pleasure.”

If the Post is accurate, it would contradict Joe Biden’s claims that he never discussed foreign business ties with his son. It would also add to Republican attack lines that Biden’s advanced age is showing because he’s forgetful.

The Post ran the story after Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, handed over a laptop allegedly abandoned by Hunter at a computer repair shop in Delaware.

Investigations from news agencies such as CBS News cast doubt on how the laptop surfaced. Interviews with the shop’s owner, John Paul MacIsaac, revealed contradictions or a general inability to answer questions about how the laptop wound up in his store, leading some outlets to discredit the story.

Giuliani, despite rising to prominence as the mayor of New York City after al-Qaida attacks on the United States in 2001, is not without his own murky past. U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien expressed concerns in December that the former mayor himself was the target of a Russian disinformation campaign meant to smear the Democratic presidential nominee.

That, in turn, adds to concerns Russian disinformation campaigns helped Trump secure the White House in 2016. Meanwhile, a Senate Republican investigation initiated after Trump was impeached in the House found Hunter Biden’s actions were “problematic” but fell short of accusing him of any wrongdoing.

On its surface, the latest allegations appear to be a move to rekindle an old story for the sake of invigorating a constituency that may be wary about casting a vote for the former vice president. House Republicans, however, argue it seems the FBI had access to the laptop in question in December and wonder why it’s just now coming to light.

“If the FBI was, in fact, in possession of this evidence and failed to alert the White House to its existence that would have given even more weight to the president’s legal defense [during impeachment proceedings], this was a gross error in judgement and a severe violation of trust,” a letter signed by 19 House Republicans read.