The Delaware computer engineer who found himself at the center of a media storm after he fixed Hunter Biden‘s laptop has insisted he is not a hacker or a Russian agent, in a bid to salvage his professional reputation.
John Paul Mac Isaac, 44, said that being caught up in the saga has had ‘an irreversible impact on my business and my character’.
Hunter left three damaged Apple laptops at Mac Isaac’s shop in April 2019 but never returned or paid the $85 bill for recovering the data from them.
John Paul Mac Isaac posted a video on YouTube on December 5 entitled: ‘The Truth’
Mac Isaac said his world had been turned upside down since Hunter Biden (left) arrived
How it got there: MacIsaac offers data recovery services at his store in Wilmington, DE, and Hunter Biden simply walked in with three damaged laptops. Two had water damage and one had a sticky keyboard. But he never returned to retrieve them
The emails appeared to show that Hunter Biden introduced his father to his business partner in Ukraine – but that was denied rapidly by the Biden campaign, who said that no such meeting was found in his schedules from 2015, when the email suggested it happened.
Many suspected that the whole saga was the result of some sort of Russian attempt to interfere in the election.
Some even speculated that Mac Isaac could be himself a spy.
Earlier this month, in a bid to counter the speculation, Mac Isaac, who worked in an Apple store’s Genius Bar before setting up his own mac repair shop in Wilmington, spoke out.
On December 5 he posted a three minute video on YouTube which he titled ‘The Truth’ and said he wanted to ‘disprove any of the rumors and speculations regarding my actions and my character’.
Mac Isaac told the story of his grandfather, John Alexander Mac Isaac, a Scottish Canadian who flew and fought for the U.S. against the Soviets, in the early days of the Cold War.
He told of his father, Steve Mac Isaac, who followed in his footsteps to become a military pilot, flying gunships in Vietnam during a 30 year career in the armed forces.
‘For two generations the Mac Isaac family has fought communism and the Soviets,’ said Mac Isaac, to images of his father and grandfather, and a piano accompaniment.
Hunter, pictured with his father Joe, brought the laptops in for repair in April 2019
Hunter and Joe Biden are pictured at a celebration on the night Joe was declared the winner
In hot water: Hunter Biden’s laptop also contained sexually explicit pictures and footage of him apparently smoking crack, the New York Post reported
‘That’s why it’s completely absurd for anyone to consider me a Russian agent, or influenced by Russian.
‘I am proud of my family, proud of my country, and proud to be an American.’
He said being called a hacker was ‘a death sentence in my industry’.
‘For the record I am not, nor have I ever been, a hacker – those guys make so much more than I do,’ he said.
‘There is no magic, or Hollywood. The process is no different from dragging and dropping from a USB drive. The only difference is I had to perform some surgery on the mac, to get it to boot.’
When Mac Isaac was revealed to be the man who handed Hunter’s laptops over, in October, he said he feared being murdered.
I had Hunter’s emails: John Paul MacIsaac, 44, a former Genius Bar worker who runs his own Mac store in Wilmington, DE, revealed that he had passed the laptop to both the FBI and Rudy Giuliani – but offered contradictory accounts of his dealings with law enforcement
On a tape recording of his lengthy interview with the Daily Beast’s reporter, he equivocated over how he and the FBI came to be in touch in fall 2019.
He said first that he had got in touch with the FBI but also said: ‘They approached me.’
Asked repeatedly for clarity, he said ‘no comment,’ and said that he had asked a trusted friend who was ‘better at this press and spy stuff’ for advice.
‘I was afraid, I reached out to some people that I trusted, that could possibly get me in touch with the FBI,’ he said. ‘Then they showed up.’
The people were not political, he said, but declined to comment on how he came to know them.
Scottish heritage: Mac Isaac is enthusiastic about his family’s origins in Scotland and posed in Mac Isaac tartan at a Highland Games in Colorado
Before the FBI came he made a copy to ‘protect myself,’ he said, but said he was not aware that there were any other copies.
And he repeatedly declined to comment on how he came to be in touch with Giuliani, whose own personal lawyer Robert Costello says he obtained the laptop’s contents from Mac Isaac.
‘I don’t feel comfortable clearing anything up right now,’ he said.
He said that he has an unnamed ‘medical condition’ – believed to be related to his eyesight, which he referenced in his YouTube video – which meant he did not recognize Hunter when he came into his store in April 2019.
When he asked for his customer’s name he thought ‘that sounds familiar.’
‘I got him checked into the system. First name, Hunter. Last name, there was a long pause – Biden. Oh,’ he said. ‘I have had a handful of famous people come in here that I don’t recognize. Sabrina – the older sister on Cosby – Le Beauf, she comes in here sometimes.’
The laptop had suffered water damage, and Mac Isaac was able to retrieve the data from it and image the contents it on to a separate hard drive.
In the course of doing that, he said that he saw its contents, saying that the ‘it was a mess.’
But he said ‘no comment’ when asked whether or how he knew that the emails concerned Hunter’s dealings with Burisma, the Ukrainian energy giant whose board the president-elect’s son joined in 2014.
He said he had tried to contact the younger Biden ‘repeatedly,’ to no avail.
And he said that during the summer he started to be concerned about the hard drive with Hunter’s secrets being in his shop.
‘Middle of summer, I started to get concerned because you see stuff in the papers and the news and online and I thought I recognize that name,’ he said, in reference to Hunter Biden, as questions over his links to Ukraine came to be at the heart of the impeachment saga.
MacIsaac said he had acted to pass on the laptop to Giuliani because he feared being killed because of what was in his possession saying: ‘I’m pretty vocal about not wanting to get murdered.’
‘Did you genuinely think Joe Biden would put your life in danger?’ he was asked.
‘People that work for him, sure,’ he replied.
Asked who he thought would kill him, he said: ‘Epstein didn’t really hang himself, this guy got shot jogging.
‘I think that it’s not the government as an entire entity but I think there’s a history in this country of people with political motives doing horrible things. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of that.’
MacIsaac said he was ‘not political’ although his social media shows that he voted for Trump in 2016 and posted: ‘So, I decided to go on Facebook today for the first time in a while. Apparently, I am an a**hole, stupid, racist, sexist, and a d**k that hates his country. And that’s just from my friends.
‘Come on people, we are Stronger Together…… What, too soon?’
But asked if he was concerned about the possibility of Biden winning the election he said: ‘As long as he doesn’t have a vendetta.’
HOW HUNTER’S EMAILS EXPLODED AS TWO WORLDS COLLIDED
January 2009: Hunter Biden (right) quits lobbying because his father has become vice president, and sets up investment and advisory firm firm Rosemont Seneca with friends Christopher Heinz – John Kerry’s stepson – and Devon Archer (left), a former Kerry aide
July 2010: Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, who owns its biggest natural gas company Burisma joins the government of its president Viktor Yanukovych
February 2014: Yanukovych is deposed in a revolution which claims scores of lives and Burisma Zlochevsky is thrown out of government too
April 16: Burisma is secretly accused of money-laundering by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office. On the same day Archer meets Joe Biden at the White House. Six days later Archer joins the board of Burisma
April 28: Britain’s Serious Fraud Office freeze $23 million of Burisma’s cash, every dollar which exists in the UK’s banking system
May 12: Hunter joins the board of Burisma to improve ‘corporate governance.’ Hunter’s salary is later revealed to be $50,000-a-month. Burisma board advisor Vadym Pozharskyi who had met Hunter in Lake Como, Italy, days earlier, emails him asking to ‘use his influence’ to stop prosecutions. During the summer, the new prosecutor-general of Ukraine opens an investigation into Burisma
February 2015: Senior diplomat George Kent, on temporary assignment to Kyiv, learns of Hunter’s role. He phones a staffer at Biden’s office to it could ‘create perception of a conflict of interest.’ That month Viktor Shokin takes office as Ukraine’s prosecutor general, despite already being the subject of questions about his own links to corruption
April 17: Email from Hunter’s laptop shows Pozharskyi writing Hunter: ‘thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some together.’
Summer: The Burisma investigation appears to become dormant
January 2016: Biden travels to Ukraine amid mounting international disgust at Shokin failing to tackle corruption. One of the concerns raised by the European Union and IMF is that he has failed to investigate Burisma. Biden tells Poroshenko he needs to go. He later boasts: ‘I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.’ Shokin in fact is finally removed from office in March after internal turmoil in Kyiv
2018: Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani starts ‘investigating’ the Bidens’ links to Ukraine, enlisting the help of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who are now indicted on fraud charges. Ukraine’s latest prosecutor general announces he will investigate Burisma early the next year
April 12, 2019: Hunter – or a man saying he is Hunter – takes three damaged Macs to John Paul MacIsaac’s Apple repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware. MacIsaac puts data from one on a new hard drive
April 25: Joe Biden announces presidential run
July 11: The laptops have not been picked up and are now considered ‘abandoned’ according to MacIsaac’s terms and conditions
Summer: MacIsaac claims he becomes worried about what he has seen on the laptop whose contents he put on a disk, and thinks he might be killed by a Biden associate for having it in his shop
Fall: MacIsaac either contacts the FBI or is contacted by them; he has said both
December 9 or 19: The FBI pick up the laptop, but MacIsaac has made a copy for himself. Giuliani later says the shopowner has made four. They give him a grand jury subpoena to hand it over, even though he was going to anyway
Early January 2020: The FBI tell MacIsaac not to talk to anyone and to stall if a Biden representative comes to get the laptop back
February: Trump is acquitted at end of his impeachment trial
May: On Giuliani’s account, MacIsaac hands over the hard drive to Robert Costello, Giuliani’s attorney, by this month at the latest as well as trying to give it to other Republicans
September: Steve Bannon, Trump’s ex-aide and now indicted on fraud charges, tells New York Post about existence of laptop
September 28: Bannon boasts to a Dutch TV interviewer ‘I have Hunter’s hard drive’
October 11: Giuliani gives Post the hard drive
October 14: Post publishes emails and partially-clothed pictures of Hunter from the laptop – one of them with an apparent crack pipe – and says it has an 11-minute sex-and-drugs video. Giuliani promises there is ‘more to come,’ Republican senators promise to investigate but Democrats say the former New York mayor has ‘paraded with Russian agents’