Sunday, October 25, 2020

MAJORLY UPDATED: Posobiec: DoJ Says FBI Dropped Laptop Investigation

I have reasons to be skeptical of this "scoop", which I'll get to. Obviously, if true it's a bombshell.


1. "DoJ source"? Not, 'a source within DoJ with personal knowledge,' or something with a bit of specificity to show that the source knows what they're talking about. For all we know this could have come from someone in DoJ with a partisan axe to grind.

2. If the FBI actually did drop this investigation I'd kinda expect them to return the property to the owner of record--Isaac. One reason is the reason given in #3:

3. Isaac says that he had an agreement with the FBI that if Hunter came looking for his laptop he (Isaac) should but Hunter off and contact the FBI, who would hustle the laptop back to him. So if they decided not to go anywhere with the investigation--but maybe continue with the money laundering investigation that Giuliani says he knows about--wouldn't it make sense to return the laptop? They could always scrub it so Isaac could tell Hunter, Sorry, nothing was recoverable.

We'll just have to wait and see. Again.

In the meantime, this was fun:

UPDATE 1: Axios is reporting that FBI Director Wray did NOT initiate a "formal investigation" into what Axios euphemistically terms Hunter Biden's "foreign business connections".

UPDATE 2: I need to apologize. When this story first broke I noted some important facts (Two Puzzles) that I should have incorporated into this post. Two commenters--devilman and Cassander--have jogged my memory. As well, I came across a twitter thread by another FBI agent (former, I presume) who makes some related points.

What it all comes down to, and what makes Posobiec's claim impossible to credit, is the use of a grand jury subpoena to take custody of the Hunter Biden laptop. Here's how I explained that aspect--which was before we learned of the FBI's ongoing money laundering investigation (which Giuliani has now at least referred to):

Recall that the FBI took possession of Hunter Biden's laptop via a grand jury subpoena. As I've already explained, there's nothing at all surprising about that, since it avoids possible legal challenges based on the issue of whether the repair shop owner, Isaac, really did have legal possession of the laptop. However, there is legal significance to this method of taking possession of the laptop.

The use of a grand jury subpoena means that whatever Isaac told the FBI led the FBI to believe that there was evidence of a federal crime on the laptop. Having come to that conclusion, the FBI agents would have had to present that view to a local Ass't US Attorney (AUSA). If the AUSA agreed, a full investigation would be opened and a grand jury number assigned--and the subpoena could then be issued. That means that a determination regarding "predication" was made--the full investigation would have been authorized based on the determination that there were specific, articulable facts indicating that a crime had occurred--or might occur.


We've learned that several days elapsed between the first visit of the FBI agents to Isaac's shop and their return with a subpoena for the laptop. Given the political sensitivity of the Biden family and the likelihood that Joe Biden would once again be entering the political arena, I take it for granted that both the local FBI agents as well as the local USA office handling Delaware would consult with their respective headquarters. I also assume that any such consultation would have gone up the entire chain of command--at the FBI to Director Wray and at DoJ to AG Barr. I can't believe that anyone at lower levels would take it upon themselves to short circuit this process.

Bottom line, there was an investigation. To say that there wasn't makes no sense. To have "dropped" this investigation the FBI would, once the grand jury was involved, have had to get an opinion from the prosecutors handling the case. That would be difficult, given that this had to have been already briefed right up to the top at DoJ and FBI. Further, the only reason to use a grand jury subpoena to obtain the laptop would have been because the agents and prosecutors agreed on the need to then get a search warrant for the laptop. To "drop" the case at that point would raise far more difficulties than leaving it open.

So, with that refreshed, the other agent says:

As an Agent myself, this sounds fishy. Either the guy is telling the truth or it’s some sort of operation to make it seem like it. Either way you investigate until you figure it out. Especially if you have GJ authority.

Once you have subpoena power there is a lot you can do to verify the origin of the laptop. At a minimum you build up enough PC to get a warrant for the laptop so you can forensically analyze it. Either as a case against HB or a case against the shop owner. 

Then once you determine whose it is you start getting warrants for email accounts, cell towers, iCloud accounts. 

Either way, to say the shop owner’s story won’t hold up is an excuse. It’s either legitimate or it’s not. It’s either HB’s laptop or it’s not. It’s either real emails or it’s not.

And if it’s not then it needs to be investigated as a national security case. 

Shipwreckedcrew also commented briefly regarding the notion that the FBI and DoJ would suddenly "drop" the whole thing based on the claim that they didn't believe Isaac:


It’s BS.  Reporters who don’t understand what they are covering. That would never be a consideration to go forward or not go forward.

So, hopefully I've learned a lesson from this.


  1. Mark am I nuts or wouldn't this have become a DoJ matter once it was subpoenaed and in the hands of the USA?

    1. No, your not nuts. My understanding is that for the investigation to be dropped the USA would have to agree.

  2. >Axios is reporting that FBI Director Wray did NOT initiate a "formal investigation" into what Axios euphemistically terms Hunter Biden's "foreign business connections".<

    Surely Hunter Biden's actions present a national security risk. If the IC is not interested in investigating that what could possibly be of interest?

  3. "Reporters who don’t understand what they are covering."

    Now there's a pandemic.