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Tipsheet

Jim Jordan, Mike Turner Raise Possibility of Subpoenaing CIA Over Letter on Hunter Biden Laptop

Michaels Reynolds/Pool via AP

The Hunter Biden laptop story looks to be getting more intense as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) have warned in a letter to CIA Director William Burns that they are still looking to get answers from a request they made for more information on a letter they sent almost two months ago, on March 21. And, if they don't hear back by May 30, they're willing to turn to "compulsory process." In other words, they could subpoena the CIA.

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As Katie put it in her headline from last week, "It Sure Looks Like the CIA Helped Biden Win the 2020 Election." Jordan's committee, as well as the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which falls under the Judiciary Committee, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, had published a report on "HOW SENIOR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY OFFICIALS AND THE BIDEN CAMPAIGN WORKED TO MISLEAD AMERICAN VOTERS."

This letter specifically addresses the letter that members of the intelligence community circulated claiming that the story about Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop was "Russian disinformation," just ahead of the 2020 presidential election. 

"On March 21, 2023, we wrote to you requesting documents in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) custody relating to this statement about Hunter Biden," the Wednesday letter mentioned early on. "This statement, signed by former intelligence community officials using their official titles and emphasizing their national security credentials, suggested that public reporting about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and Biden family influence-peddling 'ha[d] all the hallmarks of a Russian information operation.' We have since learned that the statement was drafted and disseminated following communications between former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and Biden campaign advisor—now Secretary of State—Antony Blinken."

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"The Committees have received evidence that the CIA, or at least an employee of the CIA, may have helped to solicit signatories for the statement about Hunter Biden," the letter also lays out, referring to statements from former CIA employee David Cariens, who said a CIA employee "asked" him if he would sign the statement. 

"If accurate, this information raises fundamental concerns about the role of the CIA in helping to falsely discredit allegations about the Biden family in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election," the letter comes right out in saying. 

The letter in closing calls on the CIA to come forward with the documents or else the committees could take even further steps beyond letters. "We fully expect the CIA to produce all responsive documents to the Committees’ March 21, 2023, request in unredacted form no later than May 30, 2023. If the CIA does not produce all responsive documents, the Committees may resort to compulsory process."

In case the CIA tries to refuse or even fight a subpoena if it does come, earlier on, the letter reminds the CIA of the authority that the committees have. "The Supreme Court has recognized that Congress has a 'broad and indispensable' power to conduct oversight, which 'encompasses inquiries into the administration of existing laws, studies of proposed laws, and surveys in our social, economic or political system for the purpose of enabling Congress to remedy them,'" the letter explains, referring to the 2020 case of Trump v. Mazars LLP. 

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The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is also authorized to conduct oversight on the CIA by the Rules of the House of Representatives, and the Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government has its authority from H. Res. 12, which was passed by the House in January, the letter further explains. 

But that's not the only reminder that the letter issues. "The Committees have a significant oversight interest in this matter to inform potential legislative reforms in the House," it goes on to read. "Potential legislative reforms that the Committees may propose include, among other things, restrictions on how federal employees with security clearances may use their clearances or may access classified information following their departure from government." 

"The Select Subcommittee [on the Weaponization of the Federal Government] may also consider legislative proposals that would prevent U.S. intelligence agencies from engaging in, coordinating, or promoting any political activity related to federal elections, including candidates for federal office, as well as strengthening or amending the Hatch Act. The information we have requested regarding the CIA’s involvement with the public statement is necessary to help inform this potential legislation," the letter also explains. 

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This is hardly the only subpoena story this week. As I put it earlier this week, Republicans are "not playing games," in reference to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) whose committee is expected to vote next week to hold Blinken in contempt for not complying with a subpoena that the State Department hand over a classified cable about the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. 

Republicans are in charge of the House now, and it's time the American people got some answers. 

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