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WASHINGTON – Federal authorities are investigating whether an operation involving Russian influence was behind the disclosure of emails alleged to document the Ukrainian and Chinese business relationships of Hunter Biden, son of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

The FBI’s investigation is tied to this week’s New York Post reporting of the contents of a computer hard drive it received from President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

According to the newspaper report, the computer data was provided to Giuliani by the owner of a computer repair facility in Delaware where a laptop was left for service last year but was never used by the customer.

The FBI review comes after US intelligence officials warned last month that Russia was working to denigrate Joe Biden ahead of next month’s presidential election.

Robert Costello, a lawyer representing Giuiliani, said he was not aware of an FBI investigation.

New York Post officials did not respond to requests for comment on Friday evening.

FBI officials declined to confirm or deny the existence of the investigation.

The person briefed on the matter, who is not empowered to speak publicly, acknowledged the involvement of the FBI but did not address the scope of the bureau’s review. The development comes just weeks before the 2020 election, and when Trump urged the Justice Department to punish Biden and other Obama administration officials for pursuing an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

The authenticity of the emails remained unclear as of Friday, including whether they were hacked or possibly forged, or both.

Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.

The FBI’s involvement was first reported on NBC News.

Contributor: Associated Press

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