Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, and Fox News host Sean Hannity have all suggested that they had advance knowledge of the New York Post’s article alleging that an abandoned laptop contains proof of Ukraine-related misconduct by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Giuliani and Bannon, sources for the Post’s story, have suggested that they learned about the laptop in September -- around the same time that U.S. intelligence analysts learned of “chatter that stolen Burisma emails would be leaked in the form of an ‘October surprise.’”
The New York Times previously reported that the Ukrainian gas company “Burisma had been hacked by the same Russian GRU unit” partially responsible for the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee emails. On October 14, the Times reported that, in September, “United States intelligence analysts contacted several people with knowledge of the Burisma hack for further information after they had picked up chatter that stolen Burisma emails would be leaked in the form of an ‘October surprise.’” One of the biggest concerns the intelligence analysts had “was that the Burisma material would be leaked alongside forged materials in an attempt to hurt Mr. Biden’s candidacy — as Russian hackers did when they dumped real emails alongside forgeries ahead of the 2017 French elections — a slight twist on Russia’s 2016 playbook when they siphoned leaked D.N.C. emails through fake personas on Twitter and WikiLeaks.”
The New York Post’s article alleging a “smoking-gun” that proves Biden’s corruption doesn’t even make sense as it is presented. And the Post admits that the story came from Giuliani, whom both the U.S. Treasury and the Post’s corporate sibling Fox News recognize as a participant in a Russian disinformation campaign about the Bidens and Ukraine. Now it seems some of the story’s biggest supporters may have tipped their hands about their possible participation in a disinformation campaign.
The Post says that Bannon told the paper “about the existence of the hard drive in late September,” a similar timeframe to when the Times says that U.S. intelligence detected Russian “chatter” about the same topic. And on the October 14 edition of Bannon’s podcast War Room Pandemic, Giuliani told Bannon that he found out about the laptop and emails “a few weeks ago.”
Also on October 14, Hannity said on his radio show that “numerous sources” had told him “for a while that this all exists” and “that what came out in the New York Post today will only be the tip of the iceberg.”