Secretary of State Antony Blinken should resign, some Republicans in Congress are beginning to say, after the bombshell revelation that the nation’s top diplomat may have been a driving force behind a bid to discredit reporting about Hunter Biden — in particular a laptop that allegedly contained information about his shady business dealings and personal life — weeks before the 2020 election.
Calls for Blinken to step down followed the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee releasing a small excerpt of a deposition with former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell during an interview with the judiciary panel and the House Intelligence Committee.
A portion of a transcript shows Morell said “yes” when asked if a call around mid-October 2020 from Blinken, who was then an adviser to President Joe Biden’s campaign at the time, triggered a statement signed by 51 intelligence veterans suggesting the Hunter Biden laptop story could be part of a Russian disinformation operation. Morell also testified that Steve Ricchetti, chairman of the Biden campaign, called Morell following a presidential debate to thank him for helping to put together the statement and admitted he wanted Biden to win the election.
#BREAKING: Testimony Reveals Secretary Blinken and the Biden Campaign Were Behind the Infamous Public Statement from Former Intel Officials on the Hunter Biden Laptop @Jim_Jordan and @RepMikeTurner reveal HUGE news here: pic.twitter.com/bX3fpqJKPo
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) April 21, 2023
“This, in my opinion, probably disqualifies him to serve as the secretary of state,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) told Just the News on Friday. “Tony Blinken, you should resign,” he also said in addition to floating the prospect of impeachment.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), a lead congressional investigator of the Biden family, said Blinken should resign if he is proven to be the “impetus” of the statement. “And if he doesn’t resign, he should be impeached,” Johnson told The Star News Network. “Again, so many members of the Biden administration have this level of deceit, dishonesty and corruption. This is a lawless administration.”
A more blunt assessment came from Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX). “Anthony Blinken is a disgrace,” he tweeted. “He has now lost ALL credibility. He’s damaged our country irreparably. He needs to RESIGN NOW!!”
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee say Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) released cherry-picking excerpts from the interview with Morell and released a different part of the transcript showing Morell said he could not remember Blinken asking or even suggesting that a statement about the laptop be put together.
“To be clear, no part of that interview demonstrates that Tony Blinken or any other Biden campaign official asked Mike Morell to write a letter about Hunter Biden’s laptop,” said a statement from a spokesperson for the Judiciary Democrats.
The October 19, 2020, statement signed by 51 retired intelligence officials said the laptop’s alleged contents have “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” After POLITICO, the news outlet that first reported the statement, published a headline that said the former intelligence officials were claiming the story was “Russian disinfo,” then-candidate Joe Biden, Hunter’s father, used the statement to cast doubt on the laptop story during one of his debates with then-President Donald Trump weeks before the election.
Over the past two years, many of the laptop’s contents have been analyzed and shown to be authentic. Hunter Biden’s lawyers recently began to send letters to state and federal officials demanding investigations into individuals involved in disseminating the contents of the laptop, including to the media. His attorney, Abbe Lowell, insisted the letters do not “confirm” the laptop was his client’s device.
One of the statement’s most prominent signees, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, recently accused POLITICO of “deliberately” misrepresenting its message. POLITICO defended its reporting about the statement.
Hunter Biden is separately under investigation by federal prosecutors looking into potential crimes related to his tax affairs, foreign business dealings, and a gun purchase. The president’s son has said he expects to be cleared of wrongdoing. A meeting with Justice Department officials is scheduled for next week.
“Does [Secretary Blinken] dispute the accuracy of the GOP letter sent to him on Hunter Biden?”
Blinken spokesman: “I don’t have a comment for you on that”
“Do you know who we can ask about it?”
Blinken spokesman: “I don’t really have a comment on this” pic.twitter.com/yg7IJRQ5t0
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 22, 2023
In conducting an investigation into the laptop controversy, Jordan and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Michael Turner (R-OH) have sent letters seeking information from each of the 51 intelligence veterans who signed the October 2020 statement. Portions of Morell’s testimony appeared in a letter to Blinken seeking information and records tied to the Hunter Biden issue. A deadline of May 4 is listed.
Asked by a reporter if Blinken disputes the accuracy of what is written in the Republicans’ letter, a State Department spokesperson declined to engage. “That is not a State Department issue, so I don’t have a comment for you on that,” said Deputy Press Secretary Vedant Patel.