The witness, journalist and author Michael Shellenberger, called out Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) during a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing on social media censorship while they discussed the New York Post breaking the Hunter Biden laptop story in the weeks before the 2020 election based on emails from a copy of a hard drive.
“You are aware of the ‘laptop’, so to speak … that was published in the New York Post was actually a hard drive that the New York Post admitted here was not authenticated as real. It was not the laptop the FBI had,” Goldman said, referring to his exchange with former New York Post reporter Emma-Jo Morris earlier this year. “You’re aware of that, right?” he added.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 30, 2023
“It was the same contents,” Shellenberger replied.
“How do you know?” Goldman asked. “You would have to authenticate it to know it was the same contents. You have no idea. You know hard drives can be manipulated,” he added before Shellenberger could complete an answer.
“Are you suggesting the New York Post participated in a conspiracy to construct the contents of the Hunter biden laptop?” Shellenberger shot back.
“No, sir. Hard drives can be manipulated by Rudy Giuliani, or Russia,” Goldman said, referring to the former New York City mayor who had been working as a personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump at the time of the laptop fiasco. When Shellenberger asked what evidence there was of manipulation, Goldman contended, “Well, there is actual evidence of it, but the point is it’s not the same thing.”
Shellenberger retorted, “There’s no evidence for it, so you’re engaging in a conspiracy theory.”
Biden has said in the past that he did not know whether he was the owner of the laptop abandoned at a Delaware repair shop before it was seized by the FBI. His legal team has reportedly been looking for possible distorted or fabricated data linked to the first son and they recently sued Giuliani over the laptop. Yet over the past few years, many of the laptop’s contents — revealing details about Biden’s personal life and work — have been analyzed and shown to be authentic.
In the hours that followed publication of the New York Post’s “smoking-gun” email story, Twitter temporarily blocked the report with details of Biden’s shady business dealings and his father’s possible ties to them from being shared, claiming the story violated its rule against sharing “hacked” materials. Facebook also took steps to limit the spread of the story, which came just weeks before Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, was elected president of the United States.
Around this time, 51 former intelligence officials signed a letter that suggested the Hunter Biden laptop story had the “classic earmarks” of a Russian disinformation operation. A firestorm ensued when POLITICO published a headline that said the former intelligence officials were claiming the laptop story was “Russian disinfo” and then the elder Biden used the letter to cast doubt on it during a debate against Trump.
While Democrats in Congress downplayed the social media clampdown on the story, Republicans raised concerns about there being a coordinated effort involving Big Tech and government agents to suppress damaging information about the Bidens in the run-up to the 2020 election — including when it came to the laptop. People who worked as executives at Twitter, which as since been rebranded to X, and Facebook later conceded that cracking down on the story was a mistake.
Hunter Biden is now facing federal gun charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty, and tax counts may soon follow. House Republicans are looking into the Department of Justice’s handling of the criminal probe into Hunter Biden as part of an impeachment inquiry against President Biden.