NOTE: We from time to time publish columns or stories penned by other journalists that reveal critical information that we feel is imperative for our readers to have. In this highly toxic and truth-vapid information environment, many news media sources formerly taken at face value can no longer be trusted. This story today is from one of those trusted and truthful journalists who gives credible information that has always been exhaustively proven.
Margot Cleveland is an investigative journalist and legal analyst and serves as The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. Margot’s work has been published at The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, the New Criterion (forthcoming), National Review Online, Townhall.com, the Daily Signal, USA Today, and the Detroit Free Press. She is also a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio programs and on Fox News, Fox Business, and Newsmax. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prive—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. Cleveland is also of counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland where you can read more about her greatest accomplishments—her dear husband and dear son. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.
Emails obtained by the Heritage Foundation following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, and shared exclusively with The Federalist, reveal that lies leaked to The New York Times about the origins of damning evidence implicating Hunter and Joe Biden in a bribery scandal were fed to Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss.
As I previously detailed, The New York Times reported those lies in its Dec. 11, 2020, article, “Material from Giuliani Spurred a Separate Justice Depart. Pursuit of Hunter Biden” — just a week after Americans first learned of the investigation of the now-president’s son. The Times’ reporting was “replete with falsehoods and deceptive narratives,” but “Americans just didn’t know it at the time.”
However, earlier this year, thanks to “whistleblower revelations and statements by former Attorney General William Barr,” the country learned that the Times’ claims — that evidence implicating the Bidens was derived from Giuliani — were false. Rather, a separate investigation had uncovered reporting from a “highly credible” FBI confidential human source (CHS) implicating Hunter and Joe Biden in a bribery scandal.
Now the FOIA-produced emails reveal even more: The FBI lies, laundered through The New York Times, were fed directly to Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss.
The never-before-seen emails provided late last week by the Department of Justice to the Heritage Foundation and its Oversight Project director, Mike Howell, in response to a court order, included an email thread revealing how the Times story landed in Weiss’s lap.
“Ladies, here you have attached the NYT’s story ‘Material from Giuliani Spurred a Separate Justice Depart. Pursuit of Hunter Biden’ which posted a bit ago. Link here,” a Dec. 11, 2020, 6:44 p.m. email from the FBI Office of Public Affairs’ National Press Office read.
The names of the two email recipients were redacted. But the “(PG) (FBI)” and “(BA) (FBI)” coding suggests the National Press Office had forwarded the Times’ article, which spun evidence obtained by the Pittsburgh office as originating from Giuliani disinformation, to the Pittsburgh FBI office and the Baltimore FBI office — which provided support for the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office.
Within two hours of the FBI’s National Press Office sharing the false narrative about evidence of Biden family corruption, the link had been forwarded to a variety of Baltimore FBI agents, from there to Weiss’s top deputies Lesley Wolf and Shawn Weede, and further on by Weede to fellow Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Hanson and Weiss. Weiss himself then forwarded the Times article to another member of the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office, whose name was redacted in the FOIA-provided documents.
Given the sweetheart deal Weiss’s top Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf later tried to gift to Hunter Biden, this latest revelation raises the question of whether (and, if so, when) Weiss’s staff informed him of the CHS’s reporting that Burisma paid $5 million each in bribes to both Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.
These questions are now more important than ever because the just-released emails show Weiss’s staff sharing with him The New York Times’ false reporting that portrayed evidence coming from the Pittsburgh FBI office as sourced solely to Rudy Giuliani. But that’s not true — not by a long shot. At a minimum, Wolf and others in the Delaware office knew that — but Weiss might not have.
As The Federalist previously reported, contrary to the Times’ reporting, in the run-up to the 2020 election, then-Attorney General William Barr directed the Western District of Pennsylvania to serve as an intake office for any evidence related to Ukraine. U.S. Attorney Scott Brady was then charged with screening the evidence to ensure disinformation did not reach the other offices handling investigations related to Hunter Biden or Ukraine.
While some of the evidence Brady’s team screened came from Giuliani, agents also independently discovered a separate line of intel originating from a “highly credible” CHS who had worked under the Obama administration. Agents interviewed that CHS in late June 2020 and memorialized the CHS’s reporting in an FD-1023 form.
Americans would later learn the contents of that FD-1023 when a whistleblower informed Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office of its existence. Then, after FBI Director Christopher Wray dragged his feet in responding to congressional inquiries, Grassley released a minimally redacted copy of the unclassified document to the public.
The unredacted portions of the FD-1023 confirmed Giuliani had nothing to do with the sourcing of the intel. On the contrary, according to the form, the longtime CHS had personally conversed with Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and the company’s CFO Vadim Pojarskii.
The FD-1023 memorialized explosive reporting from the CHS, including the following:
- Pojarskii claimed Hunter Biden was paid to serve on Burisma’s board of directors to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.”
- Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin was investigating Burisma, but Zlochevsky told the CHS that “Hunter will take care of all of those issues through his dad.”
- Zlochevsky told the CHS he had been coerced to pay bribes of $5 million each to Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.
- After Trump’s election in 2016, Zlochevsky expressed dissatisfaction with Trump’s victory, but then told the CHS that “Shokin had already been fired, and no investigation was currently going on.”
- Zlochevsky told the CHS he had 17 recordings of the Bidens but had never paid Joe Biden directly.
- The “Big Guy” moniker was used to refer to Joe Biden — a significant detail because the CHS interview predated the public release of material contained on Hunter Biden’s laptop, including information that established the “Big Guy” was one of Joe Biden’s nicknames.
- Burisma discussed purchasing a U.S.-based oil and gas company for approximately $20-$30 million.
When news first broke of the FD-1023 and its damning indictment of the Bidens, Democrats and their paramours in the press tried to bury the story with a one-two punch. First, they framed the evidence as originating from Giuliani and part of a foreign disinformation operation. Grassley’s release of the actual FD-1023 destroyed that narrative.
Second, they falsely represented to the American public that Brady had already investigated the FD-1023 and closed the investigation as meritless. But as The Federalist first reported, that claim was blatantly false.
“It’s not true. It wasn’t closed down,” Barr told The Federalist after Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin falsely claimed that “the former attorney general and his ‘handpicked prosecutor’ had ended an investigation into a confidential human source’s allegation that Joe Biden had agreed to a $5 million bribe.”
“On the contrary,” Barr told The Federalist, “it was sent to Delaware for further investigation.”
Now we reach the crux of the matter: Who in Delaware knew of the FD-1023’s existence, its sourcing to a “highly credible confidential human source,” and that, as The Federalist previously reported, several details contained in the FD-1023 had already been corroborated prior to the handoff to Delaware? The Pittsburgh office had briefed the Delaware office on the document and its conclusion that it “bore indicia of credibility.”
A source familiar with the Pittsburgh brief of the Delaware office confirmed to The Federalist that in addition to agents from the Pittsburgh and Baltimore FBI field offices, Lesley Wolf attended the briefing on the FD-1023 and was informed of those details. Weiss, however, was not present for the briefing. Nor, as we previously learned, were the IRS agents-turned-whistleblowers included in the briefing.
The Federalist has also learned from a source with knowledge of the matter that the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office kept the Hunter Biden laptop secret from the Pennsylvania-based U.S. attorney’s office, which surely limited the investigators’ ability to assess the credibility of the evidence it was screening for disinformation.
Nonetheless, through its independent investigation of the CHS’s reporting, Pittsburgh corroborated several details of the FD-1023 and briefed Wolf on those details, telling her they believed the CHS’s information warranted further investigation.
But did Wolf tell that to Weiss? Did anyone tell that to Weiss? Or did Weiss’s team, after sharing The New York Times’ false narrative that Brady was on a political witch hunt of the Bidens and demanding an investigation into Giuliani disinformation, remain mum? Or did Weiss know about the FD-1023 and do nothing?
The emails don’t answer those questions, but they do confirm that Weiss and his top deputies were fed the Times story. Which leads to a final question: Which FBI agent(s) fed the Times the lies?