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.

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.

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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