Laptop News

One of these laptops is more important than the other.

First we have the NY Post trying to flog CBS News: CBS ‘confirms’ Hunter Biden laptop is real 769 days after Post broke story. Here’s the CBS story, if anyone cares: Copy of what’s believed to be Hunter Biden’s laptop data turned over by repair shop to FBI showed no tampering, analysis says. The NY Post write-up is just a rehash of what they have been spouting about for some time now: Hunter is clearly trying to cash in on his name and then a bunch of innuendo about how the President is implicated.

Second, via The Daily Beast, Rioter Accused of Stealing Pelosi’s Laptop Found Guilty on Jan. 6 Charges

Riley Williams, the 25-year-old accused of directing the mob and stealing an HP laptop and gavel from Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Jan. 6 riot, was found guilty on Monday on a number of charges related to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The Harrisburg native was found guilty on six of eight charges, including disorderly conduct, entering a restricted building, civil disorder, unlawful parading, resisting police, while the jury was reportedly deadlocked on two other charges, according to CBS News. 

Her sentence will be determined early next year.

I juxtapose these stories because it is a telling indictment of the Republican Party and their media allies that they are far more worried about Hunter Biden than they are about the January 6 attacks on the Capitol (and the incoming House majority is about to underscore this fact).

Back to Hunter for a second. One of the key reasons I do not think that there is anything actionable (or even more salacious than the “big guy” reference) is that the prime time to unleash the laptop dirt was in the fall of 2020. If there was something truly damning it could have derailed Biden’s election and yet all we get is a series of recycled stories that tell us that Hunter Biden met with people, had contact information on his laptop, and was known to talk to his Dad. I mean, it is pretty epic stuff.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    Well, you see, Dean Taylor, Ms. Riley Williams was a brave patriot peacefully strolling through the Capitol when she was assaulted by uniformed thugs who later framed her for crimes she didn’t commit.

    Hunter Biden, second in command of the Biden Crime Family, was protected from prosecution by…Bill Barr.

  2. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Frankly, “Hunter Biden’s Laptop” is an even dumber political attack than “But Her Emails.”
    But in deference to the MAGA crowd, I promise to never vote for Hunter Biden.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The other day there was an article to the point that these House investigations will blow up in the face of the R’s. An R pollster who has been doing focus groups with R voters and among the questions that he’s been asking are about these investigations, no one in these focus groups has said they are important. Let them go for it and run on the results in 2 years.

  4. Gustopher says:

    Just in time for the 2024 elections, they will find emails and texts from Joe Biden telling his failson that he loves him.

    And the far right will call it weak, while to nearly anyone still sentient it will remind them of their own screwed up family that they still love, and the heartache this causes, and the simple fact that Joe Biden is a good father and a good man. The horrors.

    They should drop the laptop investigations and go after basically anything else.

    Subpoena Harris and demand to know what she does all day or something.

  5. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The Dems ought to stack these committees with the Raskins and the Jeffries and the Schiffs and just have them ridicule Gym Jordan relentlessly for two years.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    On Biden’s laptop, I wonder if the GOPs are collectively bright enough to realize that, like abortion, they’re better off not going too far. Better for them to keep it as innuendo and a deep state/media plot than to actually uncover facts.

    On Pelosi’s laptop, no theft charges? Also too, the BLM riots were worse and none of them got shot or prosecuted or nothin’. /s

  7. gVOR08 says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: The Raskins and the Jeffries and the Schiffs are top talent. I think we have unknown freshman reps who could use the exposure and do a fine job of ridiculing Gym Jordan.

  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: And if the Dems don’t, it reveals a problem that warrants correcting.

  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    From the linked piece about the forensic examination of the laptop:

    Brian Della Rocca, the lawyer for the shop owner, provided to CBS News what he called an “exact copy” of the laptop data provided to federal investigators nearly three years ago. Della Rocca said he considers it “clean” because it predates versions that were widely circulated by Republican operatives to attack then-candidate Joe Biden before the 2020 presidential election.

    The independent analysis, by two cyber investigators from Minneapolis-based Computer Forensics Services, found no evidence that the user data had been modified, fabricated or tampered with. Nor did it find any new files originating after April 2019, when store records indicate Biden dropped it off for repair.

    Because nobody, particularly not a guy that works in a computer shop who just happens to know Rudy Giuliani, could possibly alter data in such a way that “forensic” analysis consisting of looking at file dates and maybe some metadata could not detect it. No, that’s not possible!

    Yeesh. If it’s on a file on a hard drive, it can be altered. It’s just a question of how good you are.

    Forensic examination can demonstrate tampering, but it cannot demonstrate the lack of tampering. Which is why I have long insisted that with computerized voting machines, we have paper ballots for the purposes of auditing.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    What Republicans get get their heads around is the fact that Democrats don’t give a damn about Hunter Biden, They are so desperate to own the libs and the libs just DGAF.

  11. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    One time for reasons, we had to produce a file on, say, December 14th dated November 23rd, and the date had to show on the file properties. After the boss and his top manger kicked the problem around for an hour or so, I suggested, “did you try turning the internet connection off and changing the date on your PC?”

    It was that simple.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: In deference to Hunter Biden, I promise to never vote for anyone in the MAGA crowd.

    I know, like I ever was?

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: I think we have unknown freshman reps who could use the exposure and do a fine job of ridiculing Gym Jordan.

    Shiiiitt, I know 3rd grade classes that could do a fine job of ridiculing Gym Jordan.

  14. Matt says:

    What blows my mind about this whole Hunter Biden laptop thing is that it seems nothing actually came from the laptop. Literally everything people have looked at was on an external hard drive. I don’t get why you would drop off a laptop with an external hard drive to get the laptop worked on. I’ve done computer repair since the 90s and I cannot fathom why the external drive was needed when the laptop was supposedly the thing needing fixed (water damage). Am I missing something?

    He asserted three years later that while he was copying individual files and folders from the laptop’s hard drive to another device, he “saw some content that was disturbing and then also raised some red flags”, including “criminality … related to foreign business dealings, to potential money laundering and, more importantly, national security issues and concerns.”

    Cloning the hard drive(s) of a machine that has water damage prior to committing to hardware repair is a good call as it safeguards the client’s data in case something absurd happens. The problem is the drive in question was an external drive and thus didn’t need cloned to fix the waterlogged mac. As for the actual cloning itself Apple’s disk utility or a third party program such as clonzilla can be used. When you’re cloning you might see some file names and directories but nothing that gives you an sort of information on par with what they are claiming. To do that you’d have to actively snoop around the laptop including opening the email program etc.

    So we have a store owner by the name of John Paul Mac Isaac who was handed a water damaged laptop and for some reason took possession of a non damaged external hard drive too. Despite the external hard drive being fully operational and not needed for the actual laptop repair. That this individual just happened to not get any customer information for billing or to contact about repair related issues (who does that??). This store owner also just happened to know Rudy Giuliani and just happened to believe in various Qanonymous bullshit and thus contacted Rudy as a ‘lifeguard” from the “deep state” to share this criminal evidence with. Seems like a whole lot of things went “perfect” for this external drive to end up in the hands of Trump’s people…

    What’s kind of funny to me is that John Paul Mac Isaac is now saying that the claims out there about the laptop are well beyond what he saw.

    The whole thing just seems bizarre.

  15. Tony W says:

    @Matt: These kinds of things are possible when you are unconstrained by reality.

  16. Gavin says:

    It’s bizarre – but only because Republicans gave up the appearance of competent governing philosophy with Nixon if not before. It’s just become unavoidably obvious in recent years because Qonspiracies are red meat.
    Media’s job is to keep the BofSidez plate spinning but the emperor clearly has no clothes and there’s nobody in R-land to drag the train back to the tracks.