Republican Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley have demanded Facebook hand over all communications with the FBI, the Justice Department, and other government bureaucrats relating to First Son Hunter Biden, his laptop, his business dealings, and Russian disinformation.
In a new letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg Monday, Sen. Johnson, ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Sen. Grassley, ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also asked for the names of all FBI and DOJ officials who warned Facebook that an impending document dump before the 2020 election would be Russian disinformation, leading the social media giant mistakenly to suppress The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story.
“The American people deserve to know whether the FBI used Facebook as part of their alleged plan to discredit information about Hunter Biden,” wrote the Senators.
“If so, Congress and the American people require clarity with respect to the extent the FBI communicated with Facebook during the 2020 election about Hunter Biden-related information.”
Zuckerberg told podcaster Joe Rogan last week that, in the weeks before the 2020 election, the FBI came to Facebook specifically to warn the company that there was “about to be” a “Russian propaganda” effort with a document dump which “fit the pattern” of The Post’s Oct. 14, 2020 story.
“Basically, the background here is the FBI, I think basically came to us – some folks on our team – and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert. We thought 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 that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant.’”
Sens. Johnson and Grassley said Zuckerberg’s revelation that Facebook took steps to censor information about Hunter Biden on its platform based on the FBI’s guidance “raises even more questions about the FBI’s actions regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop.
“As you may know, whistleblowers have recently alleged to Senator Grassley that in August 2020, FBI officials initiated a scheme to downplay derogatory information on Hunter Biden for the purpose of shutting down investigative activity relating to his potential criminal exposure by labeling it ‘disinformation.’
“Whistleblowers have also alleged to Senator Johnson that local FBI leadership instructed its employees not to look at the Hunter Biden laptop immediately after the FBI had obtained it.”
In a second letter Tuesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Republicans also demanded records relating to the DOJ and FBI’s contact with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies relating to the Biden family, Hunter’s laptop and Russian disinformation.
They complained about the FBI’s “consistent failure to answer congressional inquiries”.
“The FBI’s consistent efforts to falsely paint information relating to Biden family misconduct as Russian disinformation continues to draw serious concerns,” they wrote.
“In August 2020 the FBI provided an unnecessary and unsolicited briefing that was used by our Democratic colleagues to falsely paint our Biden investigation as advancing Russian disinformation. Our investigation was based on Obama/Biden administration records and included transcribed interviews of witnesses who were once employees of that administration. The FBI’s ill-conceived actions not only interfered in our congressional investigation by frustrating and obstructing our ability to advance the matters under review, it also interfered in the 2020 election.
“In addition, whistleblowers have recently alleged to Senator Grassley that in August 2020, FBI officials initiated a scheme to downplay derogatory information on Hunter Biden for the purpose of shutting down investigative activity relating to his potential criminal exposure by labeling it “disinformation.”7 Whistleblowers have also alleged to Senator Johnson that local FBI leadership instructed employees not to look at the Hunter Biden laptop immediately after the FBI had obtained it.8 The American people deserve to know whether the FBI used Facebook or other social media companies as part of their alleged plan to discredit information about Hunter.
The Senators also asked for the names of DOJ and FBI officials who communicated with social media companies regarding Russian disinformation during the 2020 election, as well as the names of Facebook officials contacted.