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ROUNDUP: Baseless Biden Impeachment Stunt Must End After Bombshell So-Called “Whistleblower” Arrest for Criminal Lie

Feb 16, 2024

Yesterday, a federal court unsealed a two-count indictment of Alexander Smirnov, the so-called FBI whistleblower who accused President Biden and his son Hunter of corruption and bribery, for lying about his accusations about the President and his son. Smirnov’s initial accusations are the basis for James Comer and Jim Jordan’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden. This baseless investigation lasted all of last year, and has not turned up a single shred of evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever by President Biden. This is just the latest blow to Comer’s political stunt, demanded by Donald Trump, all to harm President Biden, distract from Trump’s two impeachments, 91 criminal indictments, and the insurrection he started, all so Trump can return to the White House and pursue his extreme MAGA agenda. This investigation — evidence-free despite over a year of work — is based on nothing but lies. The house of cards has crumbled. It’s far past time for MAGA Republicans to admit it. It’s time for Comer to give up the political stunt and focus on the issues affecting Americans across the country. 


Max Cohen (Punchbowl News): “This DOJ indictment says the confidential source informant — who was hailed by Hill Republicans as providing evidence of a Biden bribery scandal — was making it up. Wow.”

Arthur Delaney (HuffPost): “The supposedly credible source who claimed a Ukrainian oligarch told him he’d bribed Joe Biden — the lynchpin of the impeachment inquiry — was making it up”

    • Arthur Delaney: “this is probably a giant problem for the effort to impeach Joe Biden.”

Stephen Neukam (Journalist): “Reminder that a House Republican told me the impeachment investigation has been a ‘parade of embarrassments’ This ranks up there as one of the most deflating developments in the probe yet

Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post): These ‘false statements’ have been foundational to Comer’s impeachment inquiry into Biden”

David Weigel (Semafor): “If you’ve heard Republicans repeat a tipster who said it would take investigators ‘10 years’ to unravel how the Biden bribes were hidden – it was from this guy, who completely made it up.”

Manu Raju (CNN): “The man charged with lying to the FBI had been cited by Republicans to accuse Biden of engaging in a bribery scheme — and is a central part of their impeachment probe”

Rebecca Beitsch (The Hill): “This is basically the entire premise of the GOP impeachment push into President Biden.”

    • Rebecca Beitsch: Hard to overstate the impact this could have on the GOP’s Biden impeachment push — this really does undercut their core impeachable offense. Potential bribery charges were also a major part of how GOP leadership pitched this inquiry to colleagues.”

Igor Bobic (HuffPost): Grassley & Comer hyped allegations made by this informant, other Rs ran with it and said they flat out proved Biden was guilty of bribery”

Luke Broadwater (New York Times): Hard to imagine a more damning indictment for House Republicans’ impeachment case against President Biden. The informant they trumpeted who claimed he knew of Biden accepting $5 million in bribes has been charged with making false statements to the FBI”

Ryan Reilly (NBC News): “As @daveweigel notes, James Comer was just out there regurgitating this nonsense in public as if it was in any way remotely credible.”

Annie Grayer (CNN): This is a huge blow to House Republicans and their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden who had put the now debunked allegations at the center of their probe.”

Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo): Every GOP investigation basically is based on Russian assets or spies or gangsters it would seem”

Brian Stelter (Vanity Fair): “Fox’s talk shows have been obsessed with the allegation of a ‘Biden bribe.’ Now the so-called ‘informant’ has been arrested and charged with lying. The # of times this bombshell was mentioned by Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters and Sean Hannity tonight: Zero.”

Olivia Troye (Former Trump White House staffer): “Republicans & Fox News used this to smear Hunter & Joe Biden….turns out: It was all a lie! Another low point for the GOP…there’s no rock bottom.”

Joe Walsh (Former Republican Congressman): “Could we now have an inquiry into the Biden impeachment inquiry?”

Matt Gertz (Media Matters): “Sean Hannity’s Fox News show ran with this informant’s claims in at least 85 separate segments last year, including 28 monologues. He said they proved Joe Biden engaged in ‘public corruption on a scale this country has never seen before.’”


New York Times: Ex-F.B.I. Informant Is Charged With Lying Over Bidens’ Role in Ukraine Business. “The special counsel investigating Hunter Biden has charged a former F.B.I. informant with fabricating claims that President Biden and his son each sought $5 million bribes from a Ukrainian company — a stinging setback for Republicans who cited the allegations in their push to impeach the president. The longtime informant, Alexander Smirnov, 43, is accused of falsely telling the F.B.I. that Hunter Biden, then a paid board member of the energy giant Burisma, demanded the money to protect the company from an investigation by the country’s prosecutor general at the time.” [New York Times, 2/15/24]

Washington Post: Former FBI informant charged with lying about Biden business. “The indictment returned by a grand jury in Los Angeles accuses Alexander Smirnov of making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record. The charges amount to a stark rebuke of conservatives, particularly Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, who touted Smirnov’s claims as he and other Republican lawmakers tried to build a corruption case against the president and his family. Smirnov, 43, is described in charging documents as a former confidential human source for the FBI who gave agents false information in 2020 about a prominent political figure and his son. The description of the two individuals matches that of Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and a person familiar with the matter said those are the individuals about whom Smirnov lied. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.” [Washington Post, 2/15/24]

Wall Street Journal: Informant Who Alleged Biden Corruption Made Up Claims, Prosecutors Say. “An informant who alleged that President Biden engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national during his vice presidency was arrested on charges of lying to the FBI, a twist that appears to undermine a push by House Republicans to impeach the president. The informant, Alexander Smirnov, who had been a confidential source for the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 2010, provided ‘false derogatory information’ about Biden and his son, Hunter, authorities said Thursday. Smirnov’s allegations were memorialized in an official FBI record that House Republicans have touted in their investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings. That record was at the heart of a standoff last year between the FBI and GOP lawmakers who subpoenaed the document in their inquiry.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/16/24]

AP News: FBI informant charged with lying about Joe and Hunter Biden’s ties to Ukrainian energy company. “The informant’s claims have been central to the Republican effort in Congress to investigate the president and his family, and helped spark what is now a House impeachment inquiry into Biden. An attorney for Hunter Biden, who is expected to give a deposition later this month, said the charges show the probe is ‘based on dishonest, uncredible allegations and witnesses.’ The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, called for an end to the Biden impeachment inquiry. Raskin said the allegations from the Republicans against Biden ‘have always been a tissue of lies built on conspiracy theories.’ He called on Speaker Mike Johnson, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and House Republicans “to stop promoting this nonsense and end their doomed impeachment inquiry.” [AP News, 2/15/24]

NBC News: Special counsel charges FBI informant with lying to the bureau about Hunter and Joe Biden. “An FBI informant has been indicted on two counts for allegedly feeding the bureau false information about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. Alexander Smirnov, 43, disliked Joe Biden and was arrested in Las Vegas after returning from a trip overseas, according to the Justice Department. The case grew out of the special counsel investigation being led by David Weiss, who is also leading the case against Hunter Biden. Weiss had been appointed by then-President Donald Trump as the top federal prosecutor in Delaware… ‘This is just another instance of Chairman [James] Comer and [Rep. Jim] Jordan peddling falsehoods based on dishonest, uncredible allegations and witnesses,’ Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, continued in the statement. House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin called for an end to the impeachment inquiry following the announcement of the indictment against Smirnov.” [NBC News, 2/15/24]

CNN: Former FBI informant charged with lying about the Bidens’ role in Ukraine business, undercutting GOP impeachment inquiry. “The indictment alleges that Smirnov’s story to the FBI ‘was a fabrication, an amalgam of otherwise unremarkable business meetings and contacts that had actually occurred but at a later date than he claimed and for the purpose of pitching Burisma on the Defendant’s services and products, not for discussing bribes to [Joe Biden] when he was in office.’ 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.” [CNN, 2/15/24]

CBS News: FBI informant lied to investigators about Bidens’ business dealings, special counsel alleges. “Smirnov continued to make his alleged false statements to federal investigators up until September 2023, when the indictment said he, ‘repeated some of his false claims, changed his story as to other of his claims, and promoted a new false narrative after he said he met with Russian officials.’ The special counsel accused Smirnov of ‘expressing a bias’ against Mr. Biden in May 2020 text messages with his FBI handler, expressing a view that the then presidential candidate was ‘going to jail.’ The FBI 1023 that the special counsel alleges was based on Smirnov’s false information correlates with an investigative document that drew intense scrutiny from congressional Republicans over the last year because they alleged it pointed to alleged misdeeds by Mr. Biden and his son.” [CBS News, 2/16/24]

ABC News: FBI source charged for allegedly providing false info on Bidens, which was cited by Republicans. “Charging documents released on Thursday show Smirnov was a confidential source for the FBI and allegedly provided ‘false derogatory information about [President Biden] and [Hunter Biden] … in 2020, after [Biden] became a presidential candidate.’ Smirnov is the same person that Republicans have called “a highly credible FBI source” and have used to claim Joe Biden is corrupt, according to multiple senior congressional sources.” [ABC News, 2/16/24

Forbes: Former Biden FBI Informant Arrested For Alleged False Statements. “The news that Smirnov potentially lied about the Bidens’ involvement with Burisma Holdings comes as a blow to the Republican impeachment inquiry into Biden over his alleged foreign business dealings with his son. Smirnov’s claims of bribery were praised as “credible” by congressional Republicans, CNN reported, and were used “front-and-center” in the impeachment inquiry. Republicans have been investigating Hunter Biden and his business dealings for hears, while Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel for the DOJ probe last August. Weiss had led the Justice Department’s investigation into Hunter Biden since 2018, and he requested special counsel status to allow him to conduct his investigation with less interference from supervisors. His investigation into Hunter Biden has produced two charges of failure to pay income tax and a separate felony firearm offense, though plea negotiations fell through as the investigation continued.” [Forbes, 2/15/24]

Daily Beast: DOJ Accuses One of GOP’s Key Biden Impeachment Witnesses of Lying. “The allegations are a massive blow to House Republicans’ attempt to impeach Biden, which relied heavily on accusations—levied by Smirnov—that the president was financially benefiting from his son’s business dealings in Ukraine. The indictment said Smirnov’s claims made to the FBI were ‘a fabrication, an amalgam of otherwise unremarkable business meetings and contacts.’… Following the charges being made public, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, called for an end to the impeachment inquiry against Biden, which he said was ‘based on a lie.’” [Daily Beast, 2/15/24]

Rolling Stone: The GOP’s Key Hunter Biden Witness Was Just Charged With Making It All Up. “Republicans in Congress have long attempted to leverage the allegations made by Smirnov into an all-out assault against the Biden presidency. In September, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced that he would be directing members of his party to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. ‘Even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family,’ McCarthy said in his announcement. While Smirnov’s allegations were known at the time, it had already been well documented that he had not provided additional proof to verify his claims. During the impeachment inquiry’s first hearing later that month, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee repeatedly referred to the claims made by the FBI informant as fact. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) told the committee at one point that ‘we already know the president took bribes from Burisma.’” [Rolling Stone, 2/15/24]

Reuters: Ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Joe Biden and his son. “The indictment unsealed on Thursday appeared to deal a blow to the Republican accusations that the U.S. president profited from his son’s business in Ukraine. ‘For months we have warned that Republicans have built their conspiracies about Hunter and his family on lies told by people with political agendas, not facts,’ Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement. ‘We were right and the air is out of their balloon.’…The indictment says that in 2020, Smirnov made false statements recounting two meetings from 2015 or 2016 in which executives associated with Burisma told him they had hired Hunter Biden to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.’” [Reuters 2/16/24]

The Hill: FBI informant at heart of GOP’s Biden bribery allegations indicted over false statements. “The indictment alleges Smirnov made up the allegations given his opposition to President Biden’s candidacy. ‘As alleged in the indictment, the events that Smirnov first reported to the FBI Agent in June 2020 were fabrications,’ the Justice Department wrote in a press release announcing the grand jury indictment. ‘The indictment alleges that the defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Public Official 1 after expressing bias against Public Official 1 and his presidential candidacy,’ they added, referring to President Biden.” [The Hill, 2/15/24]

The Hill: Raskin calls on GOP to end Biden impeachment inquiry after indictment of FBI informant. “Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) is calling on House Republicans to end their impeachment inquiry into President Biden following the indictment of the FBI informant at the center of the conference’s allegations that the president accepted a bribe. The statement from Raskin — the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee — came shortly after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges against Alexander Smirnov, 43, based on accusations that he made up claims regarding Biden. He was charged with making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record as part of the investigation being led by special counsel David Weiss.” [The Hill, 2/16/24]

USA Today: FBI informant indicted for lying about Joe and Hunter Biden alleged business dealings. “‘In other words,’ the 37-page indictment reads, Smirnov’s involvement with Burisma came when then-Vice President Joe Biden ‘had no ability to influence U.S. policy and when the Prosecutor General was no longer in office.’ Smirnov ‘transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma” into bribery allegations against Biden, according to prosecutors. Weiss accuses Smirnov of being motivated by political bias, pointing to text messages in which Smirnov boasted about having information that would put Biden in jail.” [USA Today, 2/16/24]

Axios: FBI Informant lied about Biden’s Burisma ties, indictment says. “Special counsel David Weiss charged an FBI confidential source with felony false statement and obstruction crimes for providing allegedly false information about President Biden and his son Hunter Biden, the Justice Department announced Thursday. The big picture: Alexander Smirnov, 43, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Central District of California after being arrested at the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, according to a DOJ statement. Prosecutors allege Smirnov falsely told FBI agents in June 2020 that officials with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid the Bidens $5 million each in 2015 or 2016, according to an indictment that was unsealed on Thursday.” [Axios, 2/15/24]

Raw Story: Informant who claimed Biden was guilty of bribery arrested by FBI for ‘false statements’. “Alexander Smirnov, who was identified as a confidential human source in the investigation, was arrested at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas earlier this week, according to a statement released by the DOJ Thursday. According to the indictment, Smirnov falsely claimed to FBI agents that executives at the Ukrainian industrial company Burisma told him they hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” at a time when Biden was vice president and bribed both of them for their efforts… At the time, Biden had been instrumental in pressuring Ukraine to remove prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, which Republicans have claimed was to prevent an investigation of Burisma. But this has been repeatedly debunked; Biden was acting in line with U.S. policy, Shokin was not planning to investigate Burisma, and international observers had accused him of corruption. Per the DOJ statement, FBI officials became suspicious in part because Smirnov changed his story and provided different details when questioned at a later date. [Raw Story, 2/15/24]

Newsweek: James Comer Faces Potential Investigation Over Lying FBI Source. “Republican Representative James Comer is facing calls for an investigation of his efforts to impeach President Joe Biden after a key witness in the probe was charged with lying to the FBI. Special counsel David Weiss, an appointee of former President Donald Trump who was chosen to lead the investigation into Hunter Biden by Attorney General Merrick Garland, announced charges against 43-year-old Alexander Smirnov on Thursday for allegedly making false statements and manufacturing false records concerning Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine… Comer, who is chair of the Oversight Committee, was criticized by Democrats following news of the indictment with at least one member of the House suggesting he has questions to answer. Many social media users on X, formerly Twitter, were quick to call for Comer to face investigation, while his Democratic critics suggested that the Republican has questions to answer.” [Newsweek, 2/16/24]

The Guardian: FBI informant charged with lying about Bidens’ role in Ukraine business. “The allegations became a flashpoint in Congress over the summer as Republicans demanded the FBI release the unredacted form documenting the allegations as they pursued investigations of Biden and his family. They acknowledged at the time that it was unclear if the allegations were true. The new development sharply undermines the thrust of congressional Republicans’ corruption accusations that the US president was making money from his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine. Smirnov, 43, was charged with making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record. No attorney was immediately listed for him in court records.” [The Guardian, 2/15/24]