Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell is one of the D.C. area’s top 500 “most influential people” this year, according to an annual list published by the Washingtonian.
Morell, who coauthored the infamous statement 51 former intelligence officials signed undermining the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020, received the magazine’s honor for his work on the subject of Ukraine.
Morell “rallied political support for continued US military assistance to Ukraine as skepticism began to fester among right-wing voices and some progressives,” the Washingtonian stated on the list, which was published at the end of April.
Morell, who now works at an advisory firm, led the creation of the statement in October 2020 that suggested the New York Post’s bombshell story about the Biden family was the result of Russian election interference.
Emails and testimony published in a recent joint committee report, written by the House Judiciary Committee, Intel Committee, and Weaponization of the Federal Government Select Subcommittee, reveal Morell worked to gather signatures for the statement in part for the explicit purpose of helping then-candidate Joe Biden in the final presidential debate.
Morell also asked the CIA to “rush” approval of the statement after someone from “kind of the Biden world” asked Morell to issue it, according to evidence compiled by the committees.
The statement, which Biden did indeed rely on in the October 22 presidential debate to discredit the Post’s story, claimed without evidence that the story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information campaign.”
Written by now-Breitbart News Political Editor Emma-Jo Morris, the Post’s report suggested the possibility that Joe Biden, while serving as vice president, pushed for the firing of a prosecutor investigating a Ukrainian company to protect his son Hunter, who served at the time in a lucrative position on the company’s board.
The story was based on emails the Post obtained from Hunter’s abandoned laptop, which the FBI also subpoenaed in 2019 when the repair shop owner with whom he left it reported its existence, and which many other legacy media outlets have since corroborated as authentic.
Morell told the congressional committees in April, according to their report, that he still to this day stands by his suspicions about Russian involvement in the story, despite no evidence ever surfacing to support those suspicions. Morell conceded however that he would have worded the statement “differently” because “we now know the emails are authentic.”
Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents several signers of the debunked statement, is also featured on the top 500 list.
While Morell said he would have changed some of the statement’s language, Zaid told the New York Times he knows “of no signatory who retracts a single word.”
The Washingtonian compiled its list by looking “for those who have deep subject-matter expertise and significant understanding of how the nation’s capital works, with the goal of getting action.”