BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | DECEMBER 12, 2022
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Two months after the FBI subpoenaed the laptop Hunter Biden had abandoned at a Delaware computer repair store, the Drug Enforcement Administration searched the office of Hunter’s one-time psychiatrist Keith Ablow and seized a second laptop Hunter had left with him. The timing of the DEA raid and the fact that criminal charges were never filed against Ablow, coupled with whistleblowers’ claims that the FBI buried evidence against Hunter Biden, raises the question of whether the search was a pretext to recover Hunter’s laptop and protect the Biden family.
While the DEA’s recovery of the second Hunter Biden laptop escaped scrutiny over the last nearly three years, a Washington Post article from Saturday brings that laptop into focus — and with it questions about the DEA’s seizure of the laptop and agents’ decision to return it to Hunter.
Back in the News
In a weekend article titled “Some Hunter Biden Allies Making Plans to go After His Accusers,” The Washington Post reported that Hunter and his closest advisers are plotting an offensive for when Republicans assume control of the House of Representatives in January. The strategy sessions to counter what Biden associates frame as “an expected onslaught of investigations by House Republicans” began last September, according to the Post, with a meeting at the California home of Hunter Biden’s friend and lawyer Kevin Morris.
Morris, already famous in the entertainment industry as an attorney for the co-creators of “South Park,” gained notoriety when the New York Post reported that Morris “footed Hunter Biden’s overdue taxes totaling over $2 million.” In addition to Morris, David Brock, a liberal activist, reportedly joined in the September 2022 strategy session. “At one point, Hunter Biden himself happened to call into the meeting, connecting briefly by video to add his own thoughts,” according to the Post.
While not detailing Hunter’s purported thoughts, The Washington Post reported that Morris suggested “it was crucial” “for Hunter Biden’s camp to be more aggressive.” According to Saturday’s article, Morris then described during the September meeting at his California home the “defamation lawsuits the team could pursue against the presidential son’s critics, including Fox News, Eric Trump and Rudy Giuliani.” Morris also reportedly “outlined extensive research on two potential witnesses against Hunter Biden — a spurned business partner named Tony Bobulinski and a computer repairman named John Paul Mac Isaac.”
Brock provided more insight, telling the Post: “They feel that there is a whole counternarrative missing because of the whole Hunter-hater narrative out there.” “What we really got into was more the meat of it, the meat of what a response would look like,” Brock said of the September meeting. To aid the efforts, Brock planned to start a new group — since launched — named Facts First USA, which Brock described as a “SWAT team” designed to “ensure that the media and public do not accept the false narratives that flows from congressional investigations.”
More recently, according to the Post, “Brock’s group, Facts First, is engaging with Hunter Biden and those in his immediate circle.” Brock is reportedly “reviewing research that Morris has conducted on Biden’s adversaries, including Bobulinski and Mac Isaac.”
According to The Washington Post, Morris and others are also focused on whether the data claimed to be recovered from the laptop Hunter Biden abandoned at the Delaware computer repair store, “was improperly obtained and distributed,” with Hunter and his allies suggesting that the materials released by Giuliani and others may not have originated from the laptop Hunter abandoned at the repair shop. Instead, the help-Hunter crew posits that the information may have been improperly taken from a laptop Hunter left with Ablow, whom the Post frames as “close to Republican activist Roger Stone.” The Post then reported that “Morris has been overseeing a forensic analysis of that laptop to determine if it was the basis of the hard drives that were later distributed by Trump allies.”
Morris began floating a similar tangled conspiracy theory in May 2022, with CBS News reporting, “Morris and his team have been circulating provocative slides that tease a coming counter-narrative to political attacks against the president’s son.” The slides describe a “contextualized theory” positing that “there was no laptop dropped off with Mac Isaac, just a laptop which Hunter abandoned on Feb. 1, 2019, at the office of his psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow.”
The New York Post’s Miranda Devine also lighted the conspiracy theory Morris floated in May, writing: “Morris alleges in his scrawled mind map, and in conversations with confidants, that Trump ally Roger Stone and his lawyer, Tyler Nixon, masterminded a plot with Ablow and Mac Isaac to create ‘clones’ of the laptop left in Newburyport to damage Joe before the 2020 election.” Morris pushed the theory based on Stone writing a foreword for Ablow’s 2020 book, “Trump Your Life,” and Ablow’s appearances on Fox News.
But as Devine detailed in her article, the material contained on the MacBook abandoned at Mac Isaac’s business included material created after Hunter had left the laptop with Ablow: “The biggest problem with Morris’ conspiracy theory of the ‘Ablow clones’ is that there are authentic videos and other material unique to the Mac Isaac laptop that were created after Hunter left his second laptop at Ablow’s office.”
Ablow has also dismissed the counternarrative as “a work of fiction,” stating: “I never looked at any laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, much less shared any laptop belonging to Mr. Biden with anyone, ever.” “I wouldn’t know how to access a password-protected laptop if my life depended on it,” Ablow added. Stone reportedly said the theory is “insane conjecture bordering on defamation.” Mac Isaac described it at the time as a “loose effort to muddy the waters.”
In response to Morris’s most recent push, as captured in Saturday’s Washington Post article, Mac Isaac’s attorney, Brian Della Rocca, told The Federalist, “As we have always said, Hunter Biden knows it is his laptop. That is why neither he nor his father have ever actually denied that it is his.” “The night before the story broke,” Della Rocca added, “Hunter’s attorney reached out to John Paul to ask about whether he still had Hunter’s laptop.” What Morris is doing now, Mac Isaac’s attorney claims, is “nothing more than trying to create more of a stir so the story will be worth more in Hollywood.”
Beneath the Surface
Whether crafting a Hollywood story or an offensive strategy to protect Hunter Biden, what Morris and Hunter’s other confidants fail to realize, however, is that by pushing the theory that the material recovered from the Delaware laptop originated from the laptop left with Ablow, they are resurrecting a story that received little scrutiny at the time: the DEA’s raid of Ablow’s office. And since Morris first pushed this conspiracy theory in May 2022, “highly credible whistleblowers” have come forward and accused the Department of Justice and FBI “of burying ‘verified and verifiable’ dirt on President Biden’s troubled son Hunter by incorrectly dismissing the intelligence as “disinformation.”
So, the question arises: Was the DEA’s raid of Ablow’s office a pretext to recover Hunter’s second laptop? And relatedly: Did the DEA return the laptop to Hunter without securing the evidence first for the criminal investigation against the now-president’s son?
While most Americans now know of the infamous laptop Hunter reportedly abandoned at a Delaware computer repair store, shortly after the New York Post broke the news that material recovered from the laptop implicated Joe Biden in Hunter’s shady business dealings, NBC News reported on Oct. 30, 2020: “[A]ccording to two people familiar with the matter, a different Hunter Biden laptop landed in the custody of the DEA in February when they executed a search warrant on the Massachusetts office of a psychiatrist accused of professional misconduct,” the psychiatrist being Ablow.
The February 2020 raid on the office of Hunter’s one-time Massachusetts-based psychiatrist Ablow received only passing mention at the time, with local outlets reporting that the DEA claimed the execution of the search warrant was part of an “ongoing investigation.” Coverage at the time also highlighted the revocation of Ablow’s medical license for alleged “inappropriate sexual activity with patients and illegally giving prescriptions to employees.”
There was no mention of the recovery of a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden at the time, or at any time until two unnamed sources told NBC News of that detail on Oct. 30, 2020. Since then, Ablow confirmed that Hunter left his laptop at a bungalow attached to Ablow’s office in 2019, where the Biden son was reportedly staying for intravenous ketamine treatments for his addiction in December 2018 and January 2019.
Ablow reportedly “made repeated efforts to persuade Hunter Biden to retrieve his computer,” with Ablow even contacting Hunter’s attorney to arrange for its return.” However, the second laptop reportedly remained in a safe in Ablow’s basement for a year, and the DEA raided the psychiatrist on Feb. 13, 2020, then returned the computer to Hunter’s lawyer George Mesires.
The timing of the raid and the return of the computer to Hunter’s lawyer raises several red flags, especially since federal charges were never brought against Ablow. First, the Feb. 13, 2020, DEA raid occurred some nine months after the Massachusetts Board of Medicine suspended Ablow’s medical license on May 15, 2019, for purportedly diverting “controlled substances from patients,” among other things. One would think the DEA would act more promptly to execute a search warrant to prevent the destruction of evidence.
Second, the DEA only executed the search warrant after the FBI issued a grand jury subpoena in mid-December of 2019 to seize the first Hunter Biden laptop from the Delaware store owner, raising the question of whether the real goal was to ensure there were no more Biden laptops floating about before the 2020 presidential election.
Third, even if there was nothing pretextual or nefarious about the raid on Ablow’s office, that the DEA returned the laptop to Hunter’s lawyer raises other concerns because at the time, and still to this day, Hunter Biden was under investigation. In fact, it was that investigation that served as the basis for the FBI to subpoena the laptop from the Delaware repair store. Given the ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden, why would the DEA return the laptop to his attorney?
Given the FBI whistleblowers’ claims that government agents buried incriminating evidence against Hunter Biden, the House oversight committees should pose these questions to the DEA to ensure that federal agency was not also acting as a protect-Biden front. And we can thank Morris and The Washington Post for reminding us of the DEA’s seizure of that second Hunter laptop — something that at the time seemed straightforward but, given the developments over the last six months, now smells suspect.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that NBC News, not CBS News, first reported on the DEA’s recovery of a second laptop.