By Hudson Crozier
What’s happening: Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told the House that former Biden campaign aide Antony Blinken, now secretary of state, inspired him to help draft the famous 2020 letter from dozens of former intelligence officials discrediting the Hunter Biden laptop scandal as possible Russian disinformation.
How did this happen? Morell said that after the laptop story broke, Blinken called Morell to express concern that the story might be a Russian hoax, referencing a USA Today article. Morell told Congress that he had no intent to create the letter before Blinken’s call, adding that he wanted to “help” Joe Biden “win the election.”
Q: But, prior to [Secretary Blinken's] call, you — you did not have any intent to write this statement?
A: I did not.
Q: Okay. So his call triggered —
A: It did, yes.
Q: — that intent in you?
A: Yes. Absolutely.
What happened next: During a time when the FBI had already been pressuring social media platforms to censor the story, countless legacy media outlets used Morell’s letter to discredit it. Biden then cited the letter in the televised presidential debates as evidence that the story was “a bunch of garbage.”
Why it matters: Information from the laptop on Hunter Biden’s overseas influence-peddling and his father’s role has inspired concerns about national security and conflicts of interest in Joe Biden’s leadership. Polling from as early as November 2020 showed that many Biden voters would have changed their vote if they were aware of the scandal. And subsequent polling has consistently shown that a majority of voters believe the scandal is “important.”
Between the lines: House Democrats and The Washington Post now claim the House GOP’s interpretation of Morell’s testimony is “baseless” and not “compelling” because Blinken didn’t explicitly ask Morell to write a public statement. But Morell also said the Biden campaign "helped to strategize about the public release” of the letter, according to the GOP. Plus, some of the former officials who signed the letter landed jobs in the Biden administration.