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Sen. Johnson: 'Biden Would Not be President' But for FBI's 'Suppression of the Hunter Biden Laptop'

Michael W. Chapman | August 29, 2022 | 1:11pm EDT
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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) (Getty Images)

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), ranking member of the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, said that by telling Facebook and other media that the Hunter Biden laptop story allegedly was disinformation, interfered in the 2020 presidential election. That action led to censorship of the story, which, according to polls, helped to ensure Biden's election, he added.

"[B]ecause of their [FBI's] suppression, they absolutely interfered in the 2020 election far greater than anything Russia or China could ever do," Johnson told Sunday Morning Futures, hosted by Maria Bartiromo, on Aug. 28. 

"We have seen polls that show that, had the American public known the corruption of the Biden family and Hunter Biden, Joe Biden would not be president," said Johnson. "We wouldn't have open borders. We wouldn't have 40-year-high inflation, record gas prices, rising crime."

"All these disastrous results, the Biden administration, Democratic governance, wouldn't have happened but for the FBI's politicization, their partisanship, and their suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop," he said.  "Again, they had it [laptop] in December 2019, and did nothing with it."

During an Aug. 25 interview on the "Joe Rogan Experience," Facebook/META CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about the Hunter Biden laptop story and why Facebook decided to censor its reach on its platform. (The laptop story was originally broken by the New York Post in October 2020, a few weeks before the presidential election.)  

Zuckerberg said, "The background here is that the FBI came to us -- some folks on our team -- and was like 'hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert. We thought there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election, we have it on notice that basically there's about to be some kind of dump that's similar to that.'"

Facebook, META CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  (Getty Images)
Facebook, META CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Getty Images)

Facebook subsequently severely restricted the reach of the laptop story and another social media giant, Twitter, completely banned the story until after the election. 

As NewsBusters documented, most of the mainstream liberal media censored the laptop story, claiming it was "fact-checking" it for accuracy.  The Wall Street Journal editorial page noted, "Rather than attempt to confirm the emails, nearly all of the media at the time ignored the story or 'fact-checked' it as false. This in-kind contribution to candidate Joe Biden was all the more egregious given other evidence supporting the Post’s scoop. Neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign denied that the laptop was Hunter’s. And Hunter’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, went public with documents backing up some of the laptop’s contents."

Also, the FBI had obtained the Hunter Biden laptop in December 2019, nearly one year before it warned Facebook about an alleged "dump" of information. But as Johnson said, they "did nothing with it" to inform the public or, apparently, Congress.

Johnson further disclosed, based on information obtained by FBI whistleblowers, that once the agency obtained the laptop, the "FBI leadership" told its subordinates, 'You will not look at that Hunter Biden laptop,' and also that the FBI, quote, 'is not going to change the outcome of the election again.'"

"And then they proceeded to do so by suppressing that [laptop] information, talking to people like Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, possibly Twitter, certainly, Senator Grassley and I," said Johnson. "That was certainly an effort to dissuade us from continuing our investigation."

FBI Director Christopher Wray.  (Getty Images)
FBI Director Christopher Wray. (Getty Images)

Bartiromo then said, "While telling the FBI not to look at a Hunter Biden laptop, they are in fact efforting to change the election." Johnson replied, "Well, absolutely, the fact that the Hunter Biden laptop was censored by Twitter, Facebook. We have seen polls that show that, had the American public known the corruption of the Biden family and Hunter Biden, Joe Biden would not be president."

Later in the interview, Johnson explained that the FBI apparently leaked to the press that it had briefed the senator and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) "in August of 2020 to downplay the derogatory information around Hunter Biden, to basically quash that investigation" the two men were pursuing.

"That same month, on August 6, both Senator Grassley and I, in the midst of our investigation on Hunter Biden, received an unsolicited briefing by the FBI, basically saying we are targeted disinformation," revealed Johnson. "Now, the briefing was completely unnecessary. I knew it was a setup."

"Eight months later, nine months later, they leaked that briefing to smear me to The Washington Post," Johnson continued. 

"[B]y leaking that briefing, basically saying I'm a tool of Russia, which I am not, a completely false accusation, the Wisconsin press picks that up," he added. "And there are people in Wisconsin who think I'm a tool of Vladimir Putin. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Attorney General Merrick Garland (D).  (Getty Images)
Attorney General Merrick Garland (D). (Getty Images)

"But they have smeared me publicly, and they just might impact the 2022 election here in Wisconsin as well, because, let's face it, Maria, they do not want me reelected, because I would be chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations," said Johnson. "They know I will investigate their corruption."

"They [political opponents and media] have already spent more than $50 million smearing me," he said. "And, of course, the FBI is part of that process."

To read Sen. Johnson's letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz about FBI whistleblowers, click here

Transcript

SEN. RON JOHNSON, (R-WI), IS INTERVIEWED ON SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES

AUGUST 28, 2022

SPEAKERS: SEN. RON JOHNSON, (R-WI)

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES

[*] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, META: The FBI basically came to us, some folks on our team, and was like, hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert. There was -- we felt that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election.

We have it on notice that, basically, there's about to be some kind of dump of -- that is similar to that. So just be vigilant.

And it turned out, after the fact, I mean, the fact-checkers looked into it. No one was able to say it was false.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There you have it.

That was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admitting on the Joe Rogan podcast that it was the FBI who called Facebook and likely Twitter and directed them to censor the exclusive story of Hunter Biden's influence peddling from The New York Post on Hunter Biden's laptop.

This all happened just days before the 2020 presidential election. Both Facebook and Twitter clamped down on the explosive expose, with Facebook limiting the sharing of the story and Twitter suspending the account of The New York Post altogether.

Meanwhile, the 51 former intelligence officials who signed a letter that claimed the laptop was Russian disinformation five days after The Post broke the story have yet to apologize or retract their statement.

(Screenshot, New York Post)
(Screenshot, New York Post)

I had on this program John Ratcliffe, the then-sitting director of national intelligence, who told us that is a lie and that the 51 who signed their name to this was wrong and that, in fact, it was not Russian disinformation. He told us that on this program and on FOX Business, "Mornings With Maria."

Senator Ron Johnson has been investigating the business dealings of the Biden family from day one, and he joins me right now.

Good morning, Senator. Thanks very much for being here this morning.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Good morning, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Your reaction to what we heard from Mark Zuckerberg first?

JOHNSON: Well, it's another piece of the puzzle of the politicization of these federal agencies.

The weaponization of federal agencies began under the Obama administration with Lois Lerner weaponizing the IRS against Obama's political opponents. And the partisanship, the politicization just continued, let's say, the exoneration of Hillary Clinton, the editing of James Comey -- James Comey's exoneration e-mail.

That was -- by the way, that was the same cast of characters inside the FBI that then immediately went into Crossfire Hurricane. We now know that, as early as October 2016, certainly as -- January 2017, the FBI knew full well the Steele dossier was tainted with Russian disinformation.

How do we know that? Because my staff uncovered the classified footnotes to the FISA report that completely contradicted the FISA report that said the FBI had no knowledge of Russian disinformation associated with the Steele dossier.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

So, we see time and time again partisanship. Look at the Peter Strzok-Lisa Page texts from 2016, 2017 that shows the partisanship. The Mueller probe never should have happened. In March of 2018, under Christopher Wray, the FBI, knowing full well that the Steele dossier was tainted with Russian disinformation, briefed Senate Intel and said -- they said the Senate -- the Steele dossier had integrity.

So, time and time again, we see the partisanship, partisan actions, political actions being undertaken by the FBI. Now, because we have whistles -- whistle-blowers coming forward -- and I encourage more to come forward. One, two Senator -- or number -- Senator Chuck Grassley said that there was this scheme in August of 2020 to downplay the derogatory information around Hunter Biden to basically quash that investigation.

That same month, on August 6, both Senator Grassley and I, in the midst of our investigation on Hunter Biden, received an unsolicited briefing by the FBI, basically saying we are targeted disinformation.

All of our investigation was based on U.S. persons and U.S. documents. Now, the briefing was completely unnecessary. I knew it was a setup. To this day, we do not know, even though we have asked repeatedly in public letters, who directed that briefing. We -- the FBI, Merrick Garland has not come clean on that.

And here's -- here's the point.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

JOHNSON: Eight months later, nine months later, they leaked that briefing to smear me to The Washington Post.

So, the most recent whistle-blower to my committee has come -- the whistle-blowers have come forward and said that, once they had that laptop...

BARTIROMO: Right.

JOHNSON: And, again, it was offered to them in the summer of 2019.

They finally subpoenaed and took possession in December 2019, but FBI leadership said -- quote -- "You will not look at that Hunter Biden laptop."

(Screenshot)
(Screenshot)

BARTIROMO: Yes.

JOHNSON: And also that the FBI -- quote -- "is not going to change the outcome of the election again."

And then they proceeded to do so by suppressing that information, talking to people like Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, possibly Twitter, certainly, Senator Grassley and I. That was certainly an effort to dissuade us from continuing our investigation.

BARTIROMO: OK. Yes.

So, you have -- there's a lot here. On the one hand, you're saying that they briefed you unsolicited, the FBI did. And you think that was a setup. They wanted to brief you, saying you are a target of Russia, so that they could leak that, well, we briefed Senator Johnson, and we told him he was a target. That's one thing that you just said.

And the other thing was about that whistle-blower complaint. We have the letter that you sent to Inspector General Michael Horowitz. And you sent him a letter saying: "Whistle-blowers have contacted my office to share serious concerns about the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

We pull out one quote here in this letter, which is the quote that you just mentioned. And that is that the whistle-blower told you there was a directive within the FBI. "FBI leadership told employees, you will not look at that Hunter Biden laptop, because we will not affect an election. The FBI is not going to change the outcome of the election again."

While telling the FBI not to look at a Hunter Biden laptop, they are in fact efforting to change the election.

JOHNSON: Well, absolutely, the fact that the Hunter Biden laptop was censored by Twitter, Facebook.

We have seen polls that show that, had the American public known the corruption of the Biden family and Hunter Biden, Joe Biden would not be president. We wouldn't have open borders. We wouldn't have 40-year-high inflation, record gas prices, rising crime.

Hunter Biden.  (Screenshot.)
Hunter Biden. (Screenshot.)

All these disastrous results, the Biden administration, Democratic governance wouldn't have happened but for the FBI's politicization, their partisanship, and their suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop. Again, they had it in December 2019, and did nothing with it.

BARTIROMO: Well, and let's point out that, at that time, President Trump was being impeached for a phone call that he had with the head of Ukraine.

And here we have all of that information on the laptop that the FBI has about the million dollars that Hunter Biden was collecting from Ukraine and Burisma from being on their board.

JOHNSON: Yes, Maria, after Senator Grassley and I issued our report, the next day, Mr. Mac Isaac, the computer repair shop owner, offered us that laptop.

Now, we'd already been falsely accused of soliciting and disseminating disinformation, so we did our due diligence. We contacted the FBI. They didn't tell us anything. We repeatedly talked to them: What do you know about this?

They would never admit that they had it. Now we know they had it December 2019, sat on it. Mr. Mac Isaac got impatient, turned that over to The New York Post. The rest is history.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

JOHNSON: But then The New York Post story was also suppressed.

But what FBI involvement was there in that letter by the 51 intelligence operatives or former officials?

BARTIROMO: Yes.

JOHNSON: How was that all connected?

That's something that we need to investigate. We need to find out how that letter was -- how that was proposed, who drafted it.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

JOHNSON: Were they in contact with the same FBI officials that were trying to suppress this Hunter laptop information?

BARTIROMO: Yes.

Well, this matters greatly, because, when we don't see accountability, when we don't actually see wrongs being righted, the American people will continue to distrust and question. And that was part of what went on in 2020 as well. People were questioning, well, can we trust them? We know what they just did in the Russia collusion hoax.

Real quick, your election right now in Wisconsin, you say they are interfering in your election because of these smears on you. Let's take a look at where you stand in Wisconsin. Tell me about your opponent and why you believe you right now are being smeared, and this is the result, 50 percent for Barnes, 46 percent for Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate race.

JOHNSON: Well, again, because of their suppression, they absolutely interfered in the 2020 election far greater than anything Russia or China could ever do.

And, yes, by leaking that briefing, basically saying I'm a tool of Russia, which I am not, a completely false accusation, the Wisconsin press picks that up. And there are people in Wisconsin who think I'm a tool of Vladimir Putin. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But they have smeared me publicly, and they just might impact the 2022 election here in Wisconsin as well, because, let's face it, Maria. They do not want me reelected, because I would be chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. They know I will investigate their corruption.

So, RonJohnsonforSenate.com, I'm going to need a lot of help. They have already spent more than $50 million smearing me. And, of course, the FBI is part of that process.

BARTIROMO: All right.

Is there anything you want to say about your opponent?

JOHNSON: Well, he's the most radical leftist the Democrats could have absolutely chosen. He wants to defund the police. He wants to abolish ICE.

BARTIROMO: OK.

JOHNSON: He supports all these disastrous policies that are creating so much pain for Americans.

BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator.

All right, Senator, good to talk with you. We will be watching and keeping a spotlight on it, Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

 

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