President Joe Biden’s pick for an intelligence advisory post falsely claimed that Hunter Biden’s laptop was part of a Russian disinformation campaign and that Donald Trump's campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
Biden on Friday appointed MSNBC pundit Jeremy Bash to serve on the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, a 16-member panel that advises the president on the quality of the United States’ intelligence collection and provides analysis of the government’s counterintelligence and intelligence activities.
Bash’s appointment could draw scrutiny given his role in pushing two of the biggest political disinformation campaigns in recent memory. Bash, a former CIA chief of staff, was one of more than 50 former intelligence officials who signed an infamous letter claiming that the release of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop had "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation." And during the height of the Trump-Russia probe, Bash asserted that the FBI and a federal judge found "people in Trump's organization were colluding with the Russians." Bash also claimed in April 2017 that the FBI had verified "at least some elements of the [Steele] dossier" and that Trump aide Carter Page had "knowingly engaged in foreign intelligence clandestine collection" with Russia.
Bash’s claims have either been debunked or remain unverified.
There is no evidence that Russia was involved in the release of Biden’s emails. A computer shop owner in Delaware said Biden dropped his laptop off in April 2019 and never came back to retrieve it. Hunter Biden is currently under federal investigation for various foreign business dealings discussed in emails from his laptop.
The FBI also found no evidence to support the theory of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The Justice Department’s inspector general blasted the FBI and Justice Department in December 2019 for a series of failures in their probe of the Trump campaign. The watchdog found that the FBI failed to verify any of the serious allegations in the Steele dossier. The primary source for the dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign, was indicted last year for lying to the FBI about his work on the salacious document.
Biden on Friday also appointed Democratic megadonor Blair Effron to serve on the board. Effron in 2020 gave $141,100 to the Biden Action Fund and in 2019 gave $50,000 to Biden’s super PAC, Unite the Country, according to campaign finance records.
In addition to advising Biden, Bash will advise the director of national intelligence, who oversees the government’s 17 intelligence agencies. The office is conducting a "damage assessment" of classified documents found at Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago.
Neither the White House nor Bash's advisory firm, Beacon Global Strategies, returned a request for comment.