The State Department refused to comment on whether Secretary of State Antony Blinken disputed Republicans’ assertions that as a senior adviser to the 2020 Biden presidential campaign he was involved in recruiting former intelligence officials in an effort to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the election.
When asked specifically if Blinken disputed the accuracy of the assertions and if he planned to comply with Republican lawmakers’ request for more information, State Department Deputy Press Secretary Vedant Patel responded, “That is not a State Department issue, so I don’t have a comment for you on that.”
When asked who would be able to comment on it, Patel repeated, “It is not a State Department issue, and I don’t really have a comment on this from the State Department.”
According to his official biography, Patel worked on the Biden campaign in the primary and general elections but refused to address the topic as a spokesperson for the State Department.
On Thursday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Michael Turner (R-OH) revealed in a letter to Blinken that former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell had testified to Congress that Blinken had contacted him regarding the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, which “set in motion the events that led to the issuance of a public statement” by more than 50 former intelligence officials who discredited the story as Russian disinformation.
Flashback: CBS’s O’Donnell: Hunter Biden ‘Unverified Story’ –Laptop ‘Allegedly Full of His Old Emails’
That meant that the Biden campaign had orchestrated the effort to censor a damaging story about Biden — rather than how the statement was presented at the time, as concerned national security and intelligence experts warning the public about Russian disinformation.
Blinken, at the time, served as Biden’s closest foreign policy adviser. The Biden campaign paid Blinken more than $100,000 for his work, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Morell also testified that before Blinken’s call, he had no intention of helping to issue the statement but that his call had triggered that intent. Morell would draft the statement that was signed by 51 former officials and pushed to Politico. Morell also testified that Biden’s campaign requested that the statement be released via a specific reporter by the Washington Post.
After the statement, Twitter and Facebook moved to censor the story and accounts sharing the story — including the New York Post’s Twitter account — preventing the story’s spread just weeks before the election. The contents found on Hunter Biden’s laptop raised questions over whether Joe Biden had profited from his son’s shady business dealings with Chinese and other foreign business partners.
Jordan and Turner slammed Blinken’s involvement, as preventing Americans from being able to make informed decisions during the presidential election.
“Based on Morrell’s testimony, it is apparent that the Biden campaign played an active role in the origins of the public statement, which had the effect of helping to suppress the Hunter Biden story,” the chairmen wrote.
They requested that Blinken provide them with more information on his communications by May 4.
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