CNN Moderators For Upcoming Debate Tied To Controversial Hunter Biden Laptop Letter

CNN’s moderators for Thursday’s presidential debate, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, have significant connections to former intelligence officials who signed the now-debunked letter claiming Hunter Biden’s laptop had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” according to a report by Real Clear Investigations (RCI).

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, one of the signatories, previously lied about leaking false information to Tapper regarding the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia. Tapper, without disclosing that the information came from the Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier, reported it in a January 2017 CNN article co-authored with Carl Bernstein. Clapper denied leaking the information during a July 2017 congressional deposition but later admitted to discussing the dossier with Tapper after further pressure from Congress.

Clapper subsequently joined CNN as a national security analyst, working alongside Tapper. Despite the controversy, Tapper received the Merriam Smith Award for his coverage of the Steele dossier story in 2018. Clapper was also a key signatory of the “Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails,” which labeled the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation.

Dana Bash’s ex-husband, Jeremy Bash, another signatory, helped coordinate the effort to craft the letter. Former deputy CIA Director Mike Morell testified that the letter aimed to assist then-Vice President Biden in the election by providing him a talking point during the debates.

In October 2020, the intelligence officials released the statement weeks before the presidential election. Twitter then suspended the New York Post’s account and blocked tweets about the laptop, claiming it was likely Russian disinformation. However, media outlets such as the Daily Caller News Foundation, New York Times, Washington Post, and CBS News have since verified the laptop’s contents.

In 2021, NPR issued a correction, acknowledging that U.S. intelligence had not discredited the laptop story. Federal prosecutors used the laptop’s contents as evidence in Hunter Biden’s gun charges case, with FBI agent Erika Jensen testifying that there was no evidence of tampering.

Despite these developments, Tapper did not mention the laptop story on his CNN shows following the New York Post’s report in October 2020. Instead, his guests often labeled the story as Russian disinformation or a right-wing conspiracy.

CNN’s hiring and promotion of Natasha Bertrand, who had echoed the intelligence letter’s disinformation claims, to national security correspondent further emphasizes the network’s controversial handling of the Hunter Biden laptop story.