Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Monday that recently published emails purporting to document the business dealings of Hunter Biden are not connected to a Russian disinformation effort, even as federal authorities continued to review whether the material was part of such a campaign.
Ratcliffe, in an interview with Fox Business, did not elaborate on the basis of his conclusion, though he acknowledged knowing "little" about the material published by the New York Post.
The FBI, according to a person familiar with the matter, has been investigating at least in part whether the material, allegedly drawn from a laptop owned by Biden and provided to the newspaper by Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, may be tied to a Russian influence operation aimed at undercutting Biden's father and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
"Hunter Biden's laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign," Ratcliffe told Fox, though quickly adding that the intelligence community "has not been involved."
According to New York Post account, the computer data had been provided to Giuliani by the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop where a laptop had been left for service last year but was never claimed by the customer.
The director said the computer is in the possession of the FBI, adding that the bureau's inquiry does not "center" on a possible Russian disinformation effort.
FBI officials have declined to comment, refusing to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.
U.S. intelligence officials warned last month that Russia has been working to denigrate Joe Biden in advance of next month's presidential election.
The analysis, published by the chief of the National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, also concluded that China viewed Trump as "unpredictable" and preferred that he not win another term, while Iran was working to foment division and undermine Trump in advance of the 2020 election.
Robert Costello, an attorney representing Giuiliani, has declined to provide a copy of the material for further examination, beyond what has been published in the New York Post.
The authenticity of the emails could not be determined by USA TODAY.
Representatives of the New York Post, meanwhile, have not responded to requests for comment.
The development comes less than two weeks before the 2020 election, and as Trump has pressed the Justice Department to punish Biden and other Obama administration officials for its pursuit of an investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Russian disinformation not behind Biden emails, DNI Ratcliffe says