Fox News host Tucker Carlson reported on the contents of emails found in the laptop believed to have belonged to Hunter Biden, raising questions about whether a former top CNBC executive improperly directed his wife to make donations to political organizations.
The report focuses on Brian Steel, the former senior vice president of communications at CNBC, and an email sent in Sept. 2016 to the son of President Joe Biden.
Emails came to us from a source with access to Hunter Biden’s laptop. The one he left at the repair shop, supposedly. Not sure we believe that story. But the laptop itself is absolutely real,” Carlson said on his show Friday. “These documents show that a CNBC executive used his wife to dodge company rules that barred financial contributions to political campaigns.”
“In 2015, Breitbart first reported the wife of a man called Brian Steel who, until recently, was an executive vice president at CNBC, was a Hillary Clinton donor. A big Hillary Clinton donor,” Carlson said. “That report came to light after a CNBC Republican debate that featured several biased questions favoring Democrats. It was pretty over the top, actually. It’s on YouTube. Treat yourself some time.”
“The emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop showed that Brian Steel’s wife was spending that money and his direction, which we think is illegal actually, we’ll leave that to the lawyers to determine. But here are the facts,” Carlson continued. “In September of 2016, Hunter Biden emailed Steel to invite him to a fundraiser for a former Biden aide who was running for Congress in South Carolina. The candidate was called Francis — ‘Fran Person.'”
Fran Person, a former University of South Carolina football player and former aide to Joe Biden when he was a U.S. senator from Delaware and vice president, ran as a Democrat in a 2016 bid to unseat then-Rep. Mick Mulvaney to represent the 5th Congressional District of South Carolina. Mulvaney won that contest and went on to become a top aide to Trump in his administration.
Carlson shared the contents of an email from Steel that said: “‘I’d love to support [congressional candidate] fran [person] but unfortunately as the evp of cnbc I’m not allowed to donate to political campaigns. In years past I would get around that by having my wife donate but after cnbc hosted a controversial/aggressive republican primary debate earlier this year, breitbart and rush limbaugh outed me as the husband of a ‘max’ hillary donor so I can’t even have eileen donate any more.'”
“Explicit, anyone?” Carlson said after a big laugh.
“Steel was at CNBC from 2007 to just recently, a month or so ago 2021, during that time, his wife donated $16,000 to Democrats. How much of that money was given at his direction? We reached out to Steel and to CNBC for comment, and neither one has gotten back to us. Not surprisingly,” he concluded.
Steel was leaving his role as CNBC communications chief after 14 years, according to an article published on Adweek in late August. The Washington Examiner reached out to CNBC for comment on Carlson’s report.
In response to condemnation by the Republican National Committee and GOP presidential candidates after the 2015 debate in question, Steel was the one to issue a response from CNBC defending the way the event was handled.
“People who want to be President of the United States should be able to answer tough questions,” he said in an email to CNN.
Breitbart, which identified Steel as someone who worked as an aide to Vice President Al Gore and other positions in Bill Clinton’s administration, reported that Steele told the outlet he was involved in planning the debate but not directly involved on the editorial side.
The Washington Examiner examined Federal Election Commission records that show an “Eileen H. Libutti” made three donations to Hillary for America and the Hillary Victory Fund amounting to $8,100 between June 2015 to July 2016, and $16,299 total to Democrats since 2008.
Eileen Libutti, a managing partner at Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles LLP law firm in New York City, was the person named as Steel’s wife in Breitbart’s reporting which was discussed by the late radio host Rush Limbaugh on his show in November 2015.
FEC records do not show donations made by Libutti or Steel to Person’s campaign. The Washington Examiner also reached out to Libutti for comment about Carlson’s reporting about her and Steel.
“It’s pretty obvious at this point that the big legacy media organizations aren’t actually news organizations, they are partisan political operations. But still, at least on paper, these organizations have rules they’re supposed to follow,” Carlson said at the beginning of the segment. “Rules like ‘news executives can’t donate to political campaigns.’ That would be improper, it would be obvious evidence of bias, so it’s not allowed. But it happens, and this show has just obtained emails demonstrating that in private news, executives don’t care about the rules or the concept of impartiality. They’ll donate to any candidate that they want. They just want to make certain you don’t find out about it.”
Details about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and personal life have emerged in the media over the past year, thanks to copies of a laptop and hard drive reportedly obtained from John Paul Mac Isaac’s computer shop in Delaware. The FBI took possession of the hardware after the owner — believed to be Hunter Biden — left it for repairs in April 2019 and never returned to pick them up.
Concerns about the younger Biden gained broader attention late last year after it emerged he is being investigated by the Justice Department in connection with his taxes and possible overseas business with China and other countries.
Hunter Biden said in April he was “cooperating completely” with the investigation and insisted he is “100% certain” he will be cleared of wrongdoing. Separately, the expected high-dollar sales of Hunter Biden’s artwork are raising ethics concerns about influence peddling despite an agreement to keep the purchases confidential.