By Samantha Flom
FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan made “false statements” under oath about the bureau’s investigation and suppression of Hunter Biden’s laptop, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on Monday.
Mr. Chan, a member of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, was deposed in November 2022 on the FBI’s efforts to suppress news of the laptop as it spread across social media just before the 2020 election.
According to a transcript (pdf) of that deposition, the agent testified that he had “no internal knowledge” of the FBI’s investigation of the laptop and only became aware that the agency had the laptop in its possession “when news media outlets posted it, or published it.”
Mr. Chan also testified that he was “not a party to any meeting” with social media companies where Mr. Biden or his laptop were discussed, outside of a preliminary briefing the task force gave to Facebook on the subject on Oct. 14, 2020—the same day the New York Post broke the story.
And when asked whether he was aware of any other communications between anyone at Facebook and anyone at the FBI related to the laptop, he replied, “No.”
But according to Mr. Jordan, internal documents his committee obtained from Facebook show that those statements were “completely false.”
Sharing an excerpt from those documents via his X account, the congressman noted that a Facebook employee—a former FBI agent—described a follow-up call with Mr. Chan on Oct. 15, 2020, one day after the initial briefing.
“I asked SSA Chan whether there was any update or change since the discussion on 14 October 2020 as to whether the FBI saw any evidence suggesting foreign sponsorship or direction of the leak of information related to Hunter Biden as published in the New York Post story on 14 October,” wrote the Facebook employee, whose name was redacted from the excerpt.
“SSA Chan advised that he was up to speed on the current state of the matter within the FBI and that there was no current evidence to suggest any foreign connection or direction of the leak,” the employee added.
Mr. Jordan, commenting on the passage, said: “Of course, there was ‘no evidence’ of ‘any foreign connection.’ The laptop was real, and the FBI knew it. The FBI had the laptop since December 2019.
“Is there any wonder why the Biden [Department of Justice] has so far stonewalled the Committee’s efforts to interview Agent Chan?” he added.
When reached for comment, the FBI National Press Office declined to do so.
Monday’s disclosures represent the latest developments in the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of how the federal government has been “weaponized” against certain groups.
Last month, the committee and its Weaponization of the Federal Government subcommittee interviewed Laura Dehmlow, section chief of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force.
One highlight of her testimony was her confirmation that the FBI was aware that Mr. Biden’s laptop was authentic while it was warning social media companies of a possible Russian “hack-and-leak” operation ahead of the 2020 election.
Describing Ms. Dehmlow’s testimony as “shocking,” Mr. Jordan noted Monday that it was during her July 17 interview that the committee learned the FBI also met with Twitter on the day the laptop story broke, prior to its call with Facebook.
According to Ms. Dehmlow, during the first phone call, someone from Twitter asked whether the laptop was real, and “one of the FBI folks who was on the call did confirm that, yes, it was,” but then another FBI employee jumped in and said, “No further comment.”
While she noted that she could not recall whether she was present for that exchange or if it was later relayed to her by someone else, she added that after that initial incident, it was decided internally that future inquiries would be responded to with “No comment.”
As for who gave that order, Ms. Dehmlow said she couldn’t “get into that further.”
Despite the alleged “stonewalling” Mr. Jordan said the Justice Department had engaged in, he also noted that his committee would not be deterred from its search for answers.
“Our investigation remains ongoing, and we will continue to update the public with our findings as we prepare and consider legislation to fight the censorship-industrial complex and protect the First Amendment,” he wrote in an X post.
One legislative effort being spearheaded by Judiciary Committee member Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) and Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) is a bill that would allow citizens to hold executive branch officials accountable for censoring speech online.
“Current law allows government agents to censor and suppress free speech with little recourse for those being silenced,” Mr. Bishop said in a statement. “Our bill will change that by finally allowing Americans to sue federal employees who violate their First Amendment rights.
“The Censorship Industrial Complex should no longer be allowed to operate with impunity, and those who seek to destroy the freedom of speech should have to answer for it in a court of law,” he added.