Hunter Biden’s lawyers requested an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s allies who they claim trafficked stolen information from his laptop, a dramatic shift in strategy for the president’s son after years of GOP attacks.
Among the letters obtained by NBC News was one sent on Wednesday, which requested an investigation into “individuals for whom there is considerable reason to believe violated various federal laws in accessing, copying, manipulating, and/or disseminating Mr. Biden’s personal computer data,” including Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer at the time.
Biden’s lawyers sent a similar letter to the Delaware attorney general’s office, requesting an investigation into the same individuals, alleging they violated “various Delaware laws” in accessing Biden’s information from what Trump has referred to as “the laptop from hell.”
The Justice Department did not respond. The Delaware Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The laptop’s contents have raised concerns about Biden’s finances, which have been the subject of a separate investigation by federal prosecutors in Delaware since 2018. It has also been the subject of several scandalous stories in conservative media outlets, many of which have focused on his drug use.
During the years of stories, Biden has largely kept a low profile — Trump would ask “Where’s Hunter?” during campaign rallies in the 2020 election — but a person familiar with the first son’s strategy said he has had enough.
“Hunter Biden and his team have taken a new approach. “He will not sit quietly while questionable characters continue to violate his rights and media organisations spewing lies attempt to defame him,” the source said.
Giuliani has admitted to giving the New York Post a copy of the computer’s hard drive shortly before the 2020 presidential election. The letters to investigators also suggest looking into John Paul Mac Isaac, who claims Biden left the water-damaged laptop at his computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware.
“Mr. Mac Isaac chose to work with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer to weaponize Mr. Biden’s personal computer data against his father, Joseph R. Biden,” the letter says.
It charged Mac Isaac and others with “computer service theft” and Giuliani and others with “possession of stolen property.”
“The work order is as clear as it can be,” a representative for Giuliani told NBC News. Under John Mac Isaac’s control, the laptop became abandoned property. Raising concerns now, after so many years, demonstrates how damaging Hunter’s laptop’s texts and videos truly are.”
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is also mentioned in the letters, claiming in September 2020 that he “possessed a copy of Mr. Biden’s computer data.” According to the letter, he and others “accessed the hard drive’s contents at various points, without authorization from the owner.”
When contacted for comment on Wednesday, Bannon said, “I thought Biden told us it was all Russian disinformation.”
While Biden has previously avoided comment on whether the various emails and pictures were genuine, the letters appear to acknowledge that at least some are — but Biden is unsure how much.
According to the letters, evaluating the data was “extremely difficult because, for months, neither the New York Post nor its source for the material, President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, were willing to share’ that data with the public.”
“Recently, downstream recipients of what appears to be Mr. Biden’s hard drive have reported anomalies in the data, implying manipulation,” they write.
“These letters do not confirm Mac Isaac’s or others’ versions of a so-called laptop,” Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell told NBC News on Wednesday night. They address their conduct in seeking, manipulating, and disseminating what they claim to be Mr. Biden’s personal data, regardless of where they claim to have obtained it.”
Lowell also asked the IRS to look into the tax-exempt status of Marco Polo, a charitable organisation run by Garrett Ziegler, who Biden said uploaded the data he obtained from Giuliani to the organization’s website.
According to the letter, the organisation “operated as little more than a thinly disguised political operation to attack the Biden administration and the Biden family,” in violation of regulations that state such organisations “may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.”
In response to a request for comment, Ziegler provided a statement attributed to his organisation that said “the letter to the IRS about Marco Polo is full of speculations and basic misunderstandings about the case law surrounding 501(c)(3) organisations. Hopefully, federal and state investigators will see this for what it is: Hunter and his family’s desperate attempt to divert attention away from their crimes.”
The IRS did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Biden’s attorneys also demanded that Fox News host Tucker Carlson retract “false and defamatory statements made by Mr. Carlson on his show” about Biden.
The story incorrectly stated that Biden was involved in a “money laundering scheme to finance President Biden’s lifestyle” by paying him $50,000 in rent each month. The story was quickly debunked, but Carlson never apologised, according to the letter.
The letter also puts Carlson and the network “on notice of potential litigation” and requests that all documents related to the story be preserved.
Fox News did not respond immediately to a request for comment.