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WASHINGTON – Federal authorities are investigating whether an operation under Russian influence is behind the release of emails claiming to document the Ukrainian and Chinese business deals of Hunter Biden, son of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, reported on Friday.

The FBI investigation is related to the New York Post’s report this week on the contents of a computer hard drive, which he received from President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

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

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

Robert Costello, a lawyer representing Giuliani, said he was unfamiliar with the FBI investigation.

Meanwhile, representatives of the New York Post did not respond to requests for comment on Friday night.

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

The informed person, who was not authorized to comment publicly, confirmed the involvement of the FBI, but did not specify the scope of the bureau’s review. The development comes just weeks before the 2020 election and as Trump pressures the Justice Department to punish Biden and other Obama administration officials for conducting an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

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

Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.

NBC News first reported the FBI’s involvement.

Contribution: Associated Press

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