Kristen Welker said NBC covered the Hunter Biden laptop in 2020, but the scandal was dismissed by the network

“Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker offered a staunch defense of NBC during a tense clash with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who challenged her network’s coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal in 2020.

On Sunday, Welker attempted to grill Rubio over whether he would accept the results of the upcoming presidential election, to which he responded by listing various issues that had taken place in 2020, among them being the liberal media burying the laptop story.

“What undermines elections is when NBC News and every news outlet in America in 2020 censored the Biden laptop, which turned out to be true- not Russian misinformation,” Rubio told Welker.

MARCO RUBIO SPARS WITH NBC HOST OVER 2024 ELECTION: DEMOCRATS HAVE ‘OPPOSED EVERY REPUBLICAN VICTORY’

The NBC host immediately pushed back, insisting “nothing has been censored on this program.” And when Rubio specifically asked “did you cover guys cover the laptop” in 2020, Welker replied “Absolutely, we covered the laptop.”

Except the minimal attention NBC News gave to the laptop when it first surfaced either downplayed or dismissed the scandal entirely.

NBC’s Kristen Welker clashes with Sen. Marco Rubio (Screenshot/NBC News)

Back in Oct. 2020, just weeks before Election Day, the New York Post broke its bombshell story about the emails found on the laptop belonging to the son of then-candidate Joe Biden, shedding light on the family’s shady foreign business dealings and fueling questions of whether the Democratic nominee used his office to help enrich his loved ones and whether he himself financially benefited.

“Meet the Press” didn’t formally cover the laptop scandal, which was only mentioned in passing after a Republican panelist said the former VP was “going to have to deal with the Hunter Biden October surprise.”

“The fact that the Trump campaign wants and hopes that this questionable hack- we don’t know, there’s a lot of questions surrounding this story… this is the last card they’re playing? This is all they got left?” Welker’s predecessor Chuck Todd reacted at the time.

FROM ‘SMEAR CAMPAIGN’ TO ‘RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION,’ LIBERAL MEDIA TEAMED UP TO DISMISS HUNTER BIDEN STORY

Washington Post reporter and NBC News political analyst Ashley Parker responded by calling the scandal a “rerun of 2016” and argued it “doesn’t really attach to his father,” adding that “some of this stuff that has come out of the hack actually makes Joe Biden seem like what voters already believe: a decent guy.”

“In a text with his son Hunter, who has struggled with drug addiction, you have Joe Biden saying ‘Good morning, my beautiful son.’ That’s not exactly opposition research, especially for Americans who have their own family members struggling with addiction,” Parker told Todd.

The following week, Todd seemed ready to have already moved on from the laptop controversy, telling viewers Trump’s “attempt to replicate his 2016 victory with an October surprise is falling flat in the midst of a crisis where he is losing the public’s trust.”

NBC’s Chuck Todd was quick to move on from the Hunter Biden laptop controversy, telling viewers Trump’s attempt to turn it into an October surprise is “falling flat.” (William B. Plowman/NBC)

Ahead of the final presidential debate, where Trump hammered his Democratic rival on his son’s business dealings, NBC Newscorrespondent Hallie Jackson offered a slanted preview of what was to come in the political showdown, promoting the Russian disinformation narrative.

“The President’s also expected to bring up Hunter Biden and unverified emails of his business dealings, described by many intelligence experts as having hallmarks of a foreign disinformation campaign,” Jackson reported at the time.”The Biden campaign says they’re ready for the attack, hoping to flip the script to argue the President’s more obsessed with Biden’s family than American families.”

HUNTER BIDEN SAGA: NBC NEWS JOINS NYT, WAPO, POLITICO IN VERIFYING LAPTOP DISMISSED AS RUSSIAN DISINFO IN 2020

Welker, who moderated the final 2020 presidential debate, did ask then-candidate Biden whether in retrospect he thought his son’s financial ties to Ukraine were “inappropriate or unethical.” He responded by saying “nothing was unethical” and also asserting the laptop findings were Russian disinformation during a tense exchange with Trump.

The New York Post’s bombshell reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop was largely ignored by the legacy media in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election. (Getty images  |  New York Post)

NBC’s coverage online similarly suggested the basis of the laptop revelations was a conspiracy. Among its first reports published on its website had the headline “Inside the campaign to ‘pizzagate’ Hunter Biden,” which attempted to conflate the New York Post’s reporting with unsubstantiated claims about Hunter that had been floating among the internet fringe and allegedly gained momentum after the laptop surfaced. A separate report similarly conflated the laptop reporting with an unverified document that had surfaced the month prior, calling it all a “Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge” in its headline.

The next day, NBC published another story outlining its behind-the-scenes effort to cover the laptop in an effort to push back against claims made by Trump and his allies that the media was avoiding the scandal, the report still downplayed the laptop’s findings.

HUNTER BIDEN SCANDAL: MEDIA SLOWLY ACKNOWLEDGING LEGITIMACY TO EMAILS AFTER DISMISSING LAPTOP STORY IN 2020

“The lack of major new revelations is perhaps the biggest reason the story has not gotten traction, but not the only one. Among others: Most mainstream news organizations, including NBC News, have not been granted access to the documents. NBC News asked by email, text, phone call and certified mail, and was ultimately denied,” NBC News wrote just days before the November election.

Despite acknowledging there was “no evidence” to prove the Russian disinformation narrative, the NBC report fueled the falsehood by citing how intel agencies informed the White House that Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, who had obtained the laptop, had been in contact with “alleged Russian intelligence agents” as well as the now-infamous open letter from 51 former intel officials claiming the emails had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

Before verifying the Hunter Biden laptop in May 2022, NBC News repeatedly cast doubt on the bombshell revelations during the 2020 election. (Joseph A. Wulfsohn/Fox News Digital)

MSNBC, NBC News’ far-left sister cable network, went even further in its effort to dismiss the laptop scandal.

“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough declared the story “false” and later declared the story was “so obviously” Russian disinformation, asking, “Why are we spreading the lies here?” Co-host Mika Brzezinski cited multiple reports about intelligence agencies investigating Giuliani’s dealings with “alleged Russian agents,” as well as whether emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop are “linked to a foreign intel operation.”

“Morning Joe” also blasted Trump for calling on then-Attorney General William Barr to launch an investigation into the Bidens, with NBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade insisting there’s “no there there” for the DOJ to investigate. McQuade suggested Trump was using the Bidens to deflect from his own legal troubles. But unbeknownst to the public at the time, DOJ had already launched a years-long investigation into Hunter Biden’s finances.

‘MORNING JOE’ ABSOLVES ITSELF FOR HUNTER BIDEN COVERAGE, CLAIMS ‘WE ASKED THE QUESTIONS’ BEFORE 2020 ELECTION

MSNBC anchor Katy Tur mocked the Post’s story, saying it “dropped like a bomb,” but to “wither under scrutiny, not really dropping like a bomb.” NBC News national security correspondent Ken Dilanian called it a “fishy story” despite acknowledging that various emails and images that came from the laptop looked “legitimate.”

“We have no idea, and neither does the New York Post, whether any of it was doctored or forged or faked. And that’s why the mainstream news media has declined to really touch the storybecause it just lacks credibility,” Dilanian told Tur. “We now know that Russian disinformation… is as dangerous to our democracy as anything exposed in these emails.”

“Deadline: White House” host Nicolle Wallace was more confident in dismissing Hunter Biden’s laptop, telling viewers, “We shouldn’t look at it as anything other than a Russian disinformation operation.”

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace chalked up Hunter Biden’s laptop as a “Russian disinformation operation.” (Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Image)

MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle attacked those who were covering the Hunter Biden controversy, referring to it as a”so-called story” with “unverified claims.”

“We are now four days away from the election and the truth is more important than ever,” Ruhle told her viewers. “The truth isthat we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The truth is that millions of Americans are out of work. The truth is we have to listen to science. And in these final days, instead of debating crowd size or unverified claims or conspiracy theories, we should be talking about policy, values and ideas.”

It wasn’t until May 2022 that NBC News finally verified the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Neither NBC News nor MSNBC responded to Fox News Digital‘s request for comment.

Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @JosephWulfsohn.

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