Former FBI informant charged with lying about the Bidens’ role in Ukraine business, undercutting GOP impeachment inquiry

Special counsel David Weiss charged a former FBI informant with lying about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s involvement in business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, undercutting a major aspect of Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into the president.

Alexander Smirnov, 43, is facing charges in connection with lying to the FBI and creating false records. He was arrested Thursday at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, after his arrival in the US from overseas, and will make his initial appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon.

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CNN is working to determine whether Smirnov has an attorney.

Congressional Republicans have championed Smirnov’s now-discredited allegations for roughly a year, though not by name. They fought with the FBI to obtain memos about what Smirnov told investigators and publicly released the materials over the FBI’s objections. The congressional Republicans repeatedly praised Smirnov as “credible” and put his uncorroborated claims front-and-center in their impeachment inquiry into the president.

While announcing the impeachment inquiry, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said “a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family.”

The FBI is now using some of the same memos that congressional Republicans released as part of their indictment against Smirnov.

According to court records, Smirnov told an FBI agent that he had spoken with the owner of Burisma about the company’s efforts to buy a company in the United States.

As part of his report to the FBI, the indictment alleges, Smirnov also noted that someone referred to as “Businessperson 1” was on the board of Burisma and was also the son of an individual referred to as “Public Official 1.” Though the indictment does not identify these individuals, sources identified “Public Official 1” as Joe Biden and “Businessperson 1” as Hunter Biden.

During Joe Biden’s campaign for presidency, Smirnov allegedly submitted reports to the FBI about two meetings with Burisma executives from 2015 and 2016, during which the executives admitted that they hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.” Smirnov also allegedly reported that executives paid $5 million each to Joe and Hunter Biden while Joe Biden was vice president so that Hunter would “take care of all those issues through his dad,” referring to a criminal investigation being conducted by the then-Ukrainian prosecutor general into Burisma.

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“In truth and fact, the Defendant had contact with executives from Burisma in 2017, after the end of the Obama-Biden Administration and after the then Ukrainian Prosecutor General had been fired in February 2016, in other words, when [Joe Biden] had no ability to influence U.S. policy and when the Prosecutor General was no longer in office,” the indictment states.

It continues, “In short, the Defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against [Joe Biden], the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for President, after expressing bias against [Joe Biden] and his candidacy.”



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