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House Republicans will subpoena the 51 intelligence veterans who signed a letter suggesting the Hunter Biden laptop story could be part of a Russian disinformation operation, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pledged on Saturday.
The commitment from McCarthy, who is positioned to become speaker of the House next term, comes as Twitter CEO Elon Musk works with multiple journalists to release “The Twitter Files,” including internal messages about efforts to suppress the spread of reporting about the contents of the laptop ahead of the 2020 election.
During an appearance on Fox News’ “One Nation,” McCarthy was teed up to discuss ways in which Republicans would conduct investigations into Twitter once they take over the lower chamber. He said it is “egregious what we’re finding” and focused on the dozens of former intelligence officials whom critics have accused of election interference.
“Those 51 intel agents that signed a letter that said the Hunter Biden information was all wrong — was Russia collusion — many of them have a security clearance,” McCarthy said.
The signees, which include former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, warned in the letter that the October 2020 arrival of reporting about the laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Going further than what the letter said, Politico used a headline that said the former intelligence officials were claiming the story was “Russian disinfo.” Then-candidate Joe Biden, the father of Hunter, used the letter to cast doubt on the laptop story during one of his debates with then-President Donald Trump.
McCarthy said the intelligence veterans would be subpoenaed and brought before a committee to address the letter about the laptop, many of the contents of which have since been analyzed and shown to be authentic.
“Why did they sign it?” McCarthy asked. “Why did they lie to the American public? A Clapper, a Brennan? Why did you use the reputation that America was able to give to you — more information — but use it for a political purpose and lie to the American public?”
McCarthy also said Facebook and Google should be scrutinized, claiming they “became an arm of the Democratic Party and the arm of government,” and asserted these tech companies should not have Section 230 legal protections.
The Hunter Biden probe is one of many that Republicans are gearing up to conduct after they won a slim majority in the House in the 2022 midterm cycle. In a House floor vote set for next month, McCarthy needs the support of a simple majority of members to become speaker. He is being challenged by at least one Republican, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who has argued that McCarthy has been disloyal to Trump and encouraged colleagues to “reinvigorate the America First movement.”