Exclusive: New York Times Waited More than 500 Days Before Reporting It Authenticated Hunter Biden Laptop Emails

Mario Tama, Jim Watson/Getty Images, BNN Edit
Mario Tama, Jim Watson/Getty Images, BNN Edit

The New York Times, self-proclaimed “paper of record,” waited more than 500 days before finally reporting it had authenticated critical emails from now-President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop.

The Times allowed the false narrative that the Hunter Biden laptop was somehow “Russian disinformation” to permeate the public debate for over a year when it had obtained evidence to the contrary, according to emails obtained exclusively by Breitbart News.

One email obtained by Breitbart News, that Times reporter Ken Vogel sent to attorneys for former Biden family business partner Tony Bobulinski, shows that on Oct. 15, 2020, at 5:20 p.m. PT, Vogel asked to verify the authenticity of emails that the New York Post cited that included Bobulinski.

“Sorry to drop unannounced into your inboxes during this hectic time,” Vogel wrote to several different attorneys for Bobulinski. “I am attempting to assess the authenticity of emails cited in The New York Post that include your client, Tony Bobulinksi, as a recipient and an ostensible participant in a business venture in China with Hunter Biden.”

Vogel asks the attorneys to talk with him on background to confirm the authenticity of the emails and the process by which the New York Post obtained and published them.

The New York Post had earlier that morning on Oct. 15, 2020, published the bombshell report from Emma-Jo Morris—now the politics editor at Breitbart News— that revealed emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop discussed a potential business deal with Chinese executives, which referred to “the big guy” taking ten percent equity.

“Hunter Biden pursued lucrative deals involving China’s largest private energy company — including one that he said would be “interesting for me and my family,” emails obtained by The Post show,” Morris wrote in the Oct. 15, 2020, article. “One email sent to Biden on May 13, 2017, with the subject line ‘Expectations,’ included details of “remuneration packages” for six people involved in an unspecified business venture. Biden was identified as ‘Chair / Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC,’ an apparent reference to the former Shanghai-based conglomerate CEFC China Energy Co. His pay was pegged at ‘850’ and the email also noted that ‘Hunter has some office expectations he will elaborate.’ In addition, the email outlined a ‘provisional agreement’ under which 80 percent of the ‘equity,’ or shares in the new company, would be split equally among four people whose initials correspond to the sender and three recipients, with ‘H’ apparently referring to Biden. The deal also listed ’10 Jim’ and ’10 held by H for the big guy?’ Neither Jim nor the ‘big guy’ was identified further.”

The Post report, that Vogel asked Bobulinski’s attorneys about, also explicitly states that the email came from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

“The email is contained in a trove of data that the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware said was recovered from a MacBook Pro laptop that was dropped off in April 2019 and never retrieved,” Morris wrote.

Bobulinski told Breitbart News that the morning after his attorneys received that inquiry from Vogel, he hopped on a phone call with Vogel and confirmed the authenticity of the emails to the New York Times reporter. He said he did so “on background,” which means anonymously, but as the recipient of the email in question that would meet the threshold to report that the email is in fact authentic, or at least confirmed by a recipient.

“It was the craziest thing. It seemed like the entire political world was debating whether the ’10% for the Big Guy’ email was authentic and if so, who the Big Guy was,” Bobulinski told Breitbart News. “Ken Vogel, a reporter for the storied New York Times is told that the email is indeed authentic, that Joe Biden is indeed the ‘Big Guy,’ and that he can attribute that information to a recipient of the email. You’d think that’s a pretty big scoop. Nope. Vogel just sat on it. Remember, he reached out to me so he damn well knew that the information was newsworthy. I had literally hundreds of reporters reaching out to me. I responded to him and trusted that he would do something with that information because I was told that he shoots straight on his Biden coverage. Nothing could be further from the truth. He was taking sides, not reporting the news — and he did so to the detriment of American voters. All the news that’s fit to print? What an absolute joke.”

Vogel and the Times would not, until March 2022—more than 500 days after that phone call with Bobulinski—publish a story saying that the newspaper had authenticated emails from Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop. In a March 16, 2022, story, the Times finally said it had “authenticated” emails from the laptop, referencing other emails, different than the Bobulinski ones.

“People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between [Hunter] Biden, [Devon] Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity,” Vogel and fellow Times reporters Katie Benner and Michael Schmidt wrote in the March 16, 2022, story. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.”

The revelation was buried 24 paragraphs into the article, marking the first time the supposed newspaper of record in the United States of America had said it “authenticated” emails from the laptop that the son of the now-President of the United States had abandoned in a Delaware computer repair shop years earlier. That March 2022 story does not even mention the Bobulinski emails, or much other material from the laptop. But the fact that the Times finally said it had confirmed the authenticity of at least some of this material put to bed once and for all the whimsical and fake narrative that former intelligence community officials were peddling for over a year from before the 2020 election until then, that the laptop and its materials were somehow “Russian disinformation.”

Vogel and the Times actually did publish a story before the 2020 election—on Oct. 25, 2020, nine days after that Oct. 16 phone call with Bobulinski—that references the “the big guy” email and other materials. The headline of that Times piece, from Vogel, Maggie Haberman, and Eric Lipton, was: “Questions and Answers About the Bidens and a Deal in China.”

The word “laptop” does not appear in the story, and the article makes no reference to the fact that the laptop contained these emails. Instead, the Times report from that day frames the effort to expose the Biden family’s business dealings with the Chinese as something that then-President Donald Trump “and his allies” were behind, calling it a “last-ditch effort” before the election.

The piece does reference the infamous “the big buy” email, and says it was part of “records produced by Mr. Bobulinski.”

“The Bobulinski records include emails, contracts, business plan documents and photographs of encrypted messages among the American partners,” Vogel, Haberman, and Lipton wrote. “The Times could not independently authenticate all of the records, but the records referred to in this article are consistent with interviews and previous reporting by The Times. The Biden campaign did not dispute that Hunter and James Biden participated in negotiating the deal with the Chinese company.”

Again, this article does not make clear that these emails also appeared on the laptop—as reported by the New York Post, as Vogel references in his initial inquiry to the Bobulinski attorneys.

Vogel and the Times did not comment for this article.

For what it’s worth, the Times actually did not—according to a source familiar with the matter—obtain a copy of the Hunter Biden laptop until nearly a year later, in August 2021. That strains credulity because copies of it were pretty readily available in the public arena to any journalist who wanted one long before that. Nonetheless, it also begs the question why the newspaper waited from August 2021 until March 2022—a period of several months during which Hunter Biden’s father was President of the United States—to report that it had authenticated at least some emails from the laptop, which, as the Bobulinski-Vogel call from October 2020 confirms, the newspaper had done long before it got a copy of the laptop.

The reason the Times withholding reporting of authentication of Hunter Biden laptop emails is significant is because of the fact that several very powerful people in America were spreading literal disinformation by claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop was in and of itself disinformation promoted by Russians.

On Oct. 19, 2020—after Vogel had spoken to Bobulinski but before the New York Times published that story from him, Haberman, and Lipton—Politico’s Natasha Bertrand published this headline: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”

The letter that Bertrand, who has since made her way to CNN and is now a reporter for that network, wrote about claimed “the arrival on the US political scene of emails purportedly belonging to Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, much of it related to his time serving on the Board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

That letter was signed by several very powerful people, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director Mike Hayden, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former CIA director John Brennan, as well as dozens more former senior intelligence community officials.

Vogel himself is on the byline of a story from October 2020 that loosely attempts to connect the Hunter Biden laptop to some kind of Russian disinformation plot—but not nearly as aggressively as those former intelligence community officials had.

The Oct. 31, 2020, Times piece, from Vogel, Haberman, and Jim Rutenberg reports on how former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was a central figure in delivering the Hunter Biden laptop to the New York Post newspaper in the fall of 2020. That story says that “intelligence officials warned the White House last year that Russian agents were using him as a conduit for anti-Biden disinformation.”

That line links to a previous Times piece, from reporters Haberman, Eric Schmitt, and Julian Barnes, that was published on Oct. 15, 2020—the same day that the New York Post published the Bobulinski emails from the Hunter Biden laptop and that Vogel reached out to Bobulinski’s attorneys—that says in the headline: “Trump Said to Be Warned That Giuliani Was Conveying Russian Disinformation.” The reported warning apparently came nearly a year earlier in late 2019, warning that Giuliani’s work with Ukrainian politician Andriy Derkach was concerning.

Deep in that piece, Haberman, Schmitt, and Barnes wrote that the Times “has not been able to verify the information that Mr. Giuliani furnished to The Post, which he said came from a laptop left at a Delaware repair shop.”

“The owner of the shop has given conflicting accounts to reporters, and Mr. Giuliani’s acquisition of the laptop has raised questions about the material on it,” they wrote. “Some former officials who have not reviewed the material suspect it could be Russian disinformation and noted Mr. Giuliani’s work with Mr. Derkach. The intelligence warning to Mr. Trump in December had nothing to do with the laptop, a former official said.”

A separate piece in this timeline that the Times published, on Oct. 22, 2020, from reporter Adam Goldman, floats the concerns that some in the intelligence community had raised about the laptop possibly being Russian disinformation but then explicitly states: “No concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation.” Goldman’s piece also quotes then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe as saying it was not Russian disinformation.


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