In a comment to reporters on Tuesday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) accused the FBI of interfering in two consecutive U.S. presidential elections and said “somebody should go to jail for all of this.”
Hawley’s press secretary Abigail Marone tweeted a clip of Hawley’s comments to the press.
Hawley offered his comments after recent rounds of the “Twitter Files” detailed the extensive ties between the FBI and Twitter and showed the FBI’s efforts to forewarn Twitter about a Russian “hack and leak operation” involving then-candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The FBI’s warnings about such a “hack and leak operation” came ahead of the New York Post publishing a series of articles based on the laptop. Twitter acted quickly to censor those New York Post articles based on the belief that the materials violated their “hacked materials policy.”
In Part 7 of the “Twitter Files” series, journalist Michael Shellenberger noted that the FBI had collected evidence in December of 2019 from a Delaware computer repair shop that possessed Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop. Nine months later, in August of 2020, the computer repair shop owner still hadn’t heard back from the FBI about the materials they had taken from his possession.
The files also included a portion of a legal statement by Twitter’s then-Head of Site Integrity Yoel Roth, who described multiple in-person meetings with FBI officials who warned him about potential 2020 election “hack-and-leak operations” including rumors that one of the operations “would involve Hunter Biden.”
On Oct. 13, 2020, Hunter Biden and his lawyer became aware that the New York Post would publish a story based on the laptop. That same day, an FBI agent contacted Roth notifying Roth that he would send along some documents and asking Roth to confirm receiving them once they arrived.
When the New York Post did publish its article on the alleged laptop materials on Oct. 14, 2020, Roth said the article “isn’t clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy, nor is it clearly in violation of anything else” to which former FBI employee turned Twitter legal counsel James Baker said “it is reasonable for us to assume that [laptop materials in the New York Post article] may have been [hacked] and that caution is warranted” adding “there are some facts that indicate that the materials may have been hacked.”
Twitter eventually locked the newspaper’s account and blocked users from sharing links to the Biden laptop articles in a move Roth recently admitted was a mistake.
According to a Media Research Center poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, 16 percent of Biden voters said they would not have voted for Biden if they had known about the Biden family’s foreign business dealings – suggesting the public’s awareness of the Hunter Biden laptop story could have changed the outcome of the election.
Reacting to the “Twitter Files,” Hawley said, “What we learned and what we have been learning is that the FBI deliberately interfered in not one but two separate presidential elections.”
Hawley said the first instance of FBI election interference was when they “laundered the Steele Dossier back in 2016 through the courts.” Here, Hawley reference a dossier containing unproven and sometimes discredited claims of collusion between Donald Trump and the Russian government in the 2016 election.
Hawley said the FBI lied to a court to obtain surveillance warrants against the Trump campaign. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith plead guilty in 2020 to altering documents that were used to extend a secret government surveillance warrant against the Trump campaign.
Hawley then said that in 2020, the FBI “deliberately suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story.”
“Remember, the FBI had the Hunter Biden laptop for a full year before the story broke, they knew all about it, they had all the emails, knew it was true and yet put out there that it was Russian disinformation,” Hawley said. “And we see now with Twitter, went after Twitter until Twitter agreed to censor it and take it down.”
When a reporter asked why no one has gone to jail over the issues Hawley described, he said “I don’t know, but someone should go to jail for all of this, and we’re going to have to have, clearly, a conversation about the future of the FBI and what it’s doing in our democracy.”
“That kind of power, the kind of power that they have is immense, and if they’re going to use it in this way then I have to say I think our constitutional order is not secure,” Hawley added.