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ROUNDUP: Baseless Biden Impeachment Witness Has Deep Ties to Russian Intelligence

Feb 21, 2024

After over a year of bogus hearings, testimonies, and epic failures, the Biden impeachment inquiry has reached a new low – MAGA Republicans’ star witness, Alexander Smirnov, was not only arrested for lying about accusations against President Biden and his son, it was also revealed in court filings that he met with and was being fed information by Russian intelligence officials. MAGA House Republicans, including Rep. James Comer, have been pushing a Russian disinformation campaign to smear the Biden family and help Putin-apologist Donald Trump. They based their entire impeachment inquiry on a criminal lie from someone “motivated by his animosity towards the President.” This evidence free impeachment inquiry is nothing but a political stunt spearheaded by Trump and his MAGA cronies. Trump has instructed Comer and MAGA House Republicans to tarnish President Biden, his family, and his administration heading into the 2024 election. MAGA Republicans have nothing but the wrong priorities, following Trump and his Russian interests, while blatantly ignoring the important priorities of Americans across the country. 


The New York Times: Ex-FBI Informant, Accused Of Biden Lies, Said He Had Russian Contacts. 

  • “In the memo, prosecutors portrayed the former informant, Alexander Smirnov, 43, as a serial liar incapable of telling the truth about even the most basic details of his own life. But Mr. Smirnov told federal investigators that ‘officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story’ about Hunter Biden… ‘The misinformation he is spreading is not confined’ to his false claims about the Bidens, wrote prosecutors working for David C. Weiss, the special counsel investigating Hunter Biden on tax and gun charges. ‘He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November,’ they added.” [New York Times, 2/20/24]

The Wall Street Journal: Former FBI Informant Accused of Lying About Bidens Claimed Russian Intelligence Contacts. 

  • A former FBI informant accused of making false bribery allegations against President Biden and his son Hunter had ‘extensive and extremely recent’ contacts with foreign intelligence services, including Russia’s, federal prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday.
  • Smirnov’s allegations against the president and his son were memorialized in an internal FBI report that Republicans obtained last year and touted in their inquiry into the Biden family’s financial dealings. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) publicly released a copy of the record and, without naming Smirnov, described the claims as ‘very significant allegations from a trusted F.B.I. informant implicating then-Vice President Biden in a criminal bribery scheme.’ But, in the court filing Tuesday, prosecutors cast Smirnov as an incessant liar who couldn’t be trusted even to provide accurate information about his own finances while he faces criminal charges.” [The Wall Street Journal, 2/20/24

Associated Press: Ex-FBI Informant Charged With Lying About Bidens Had Russian Intelligence Contacts, Prosecutors Say.

  • Smirnov’s claims have played a major part in the Republican effort in Congress to investigate the president and his family, and helped spark what is now a House impeachment inquiry into Biden. Democrats called for an end to the probe after the Smirnov indictment came down last week, while Republicans distanced the inquiry from his claims and said they would continue to ‘follow the facts.’
  • The Burisma allegations became a flashpoint in Congress as Republicans pursuing investigations of President Biden and his family demanded the FBI release the unredacted form documenting the allegations. They acknowledged they couldn’t confirm if the allegations were true.” [Associated Press, 2/20/24]

The Washington Post: Informant Charged With Lies About Bidens Also Claimed Russian Contacts, Feds Say.

  • “Smirnov was arrested last week when he flew into Las Vegas, and he was charged with lying to the FBI in 2020 when he claimed to have knowledge of corruption by President Biden and his son. The accusations, memorialized in an FBI document, were championed by congressional Republicans last year — but Smirnov’s indictment and detention memo suggest the allegations were not only false, but possibly a Russian-inspired smear.
  • Smirnov’s indictment undercut a central part of congressional Republicans’ claims that President Biden was part of a crooked scheme with his son to get millions of dollars out of a Ukrainian firm called Burisma. People familiar with the Biden investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe details they were not authorized to disclose, have long said that when Smirnov first made the Burisma-Biden allegations to the FBI in 2020, they were looked into and dropped later that year as unfounded.
  • Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, seized on his allegations as a central component of their quest to show the president improperly involved himself in Hunter Biden’s business deals.” [The Washington Post, 2/20/24]

Fox News: FBI Informant Who Lied About The Bidens’ Ties To Ukrainian Energy Company Had High-Level Russian Contacts: DOJ. 

  • “A former FBI informant charged with lying about a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme between a Ukrainian energy company and the Bidens had contacts with Russian intelligence officials, prosecutors said Tuesday. In court filings, prosecutors said Alexander Smirnov admitted during an interview before his arrest last week that ‘officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story’ about the president’s son, Hunter Biden. They said Smirnov’s contacts with Russian officials were recent and extensive, and said Smirnov had planned to meet with one official during an upcoming overseas trip. They said Smirnov has had numerous contacts with a person he described as the ‘son of a former high-ranking government official’ and ‘someone with ties to a particular Russian intelligence service.’ Smirnov’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. Democrats called for an end to the probe after the indictment came down last week, while Republicans distanced the inquiry from Smirnov’s claims and said they would continue to ‘follow the facts.’” [Fox News, 2/20/24]

Salon: “Asset Of Russian Intelligence”: Experts Say Shocking DOJ Filing Blows Up GOP Impeachment Sham. 

  • Alexander Smirnov, a longtime FBI confidential source who was charged last week with fabricating bribery claims against the Bidens that have been hyped by Republicans pushing to impeach President Joe Biden, admitted to extensive ties to Russian intelligence after he was arrested last week, wrote special counsel David Weiss, who previously charged Hunter Biden with gun and tax violations. 
  • ‘Smirnov’s efforts to spread misinformation about a candidate of one of the two major parties in the United States continues,’ prosecutors wrote. ‘What this shows is that the misinformation he is spreading is not confined to 2020. He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November. In light of that fact there is a serious risk he will flee in order to avoid accountability for his actions.’
  • Smirnov’s claims are also at the heart of the Republican impeachment effort against Joe Biden. Smirnov claimed to his FBI handler that executives at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma had bribed Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each to ‘protect’ them.” [Salon, 2/21/24

Newsweek: James Comer Resignation Calls Grow After Russian Intel Bombshell.

  • James Comer, who is leading an investigation into the Biden family’s finances, is facing calls to resign from liberal commentators and Democratic supporters after the Department of Justice claimed one of its key sources had links with ‘high level’ Russian intelligence operatives.
  • Smirnov had been a key source for the Republican controlled Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Biden family, which provided justification for then Speaker Kevin McCarthy to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Biden in September 2023. In June 2020, as a ‘confidential human source,’ Smirnov had claimed Ukrainian energy company Burisma had paid Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden ‘$5 million each’ in exchange for political favors from the former vice president.” [Newsweek, 2/21/24

Newsweek: Jim Jordan Is in Deep Trouble.

  • Jim Jordan could face major repercussions over the Republican attempt to impeach Joe Biden after a former FBI informant charged with making false bribery claims against the president was accused of using Russian intelligence, legal experts suggest. 
  • Alexander Smirnov, 43, is accused of making a false statement to the FBI and creating a false and fictitious record in relation to claims that the president and his son, Hunter Biden, were paid $5 million each in bribes from Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. In court filings on Tuesday, the Department of Justice said that Smirnov admitted during interviews that he had met with ‘officials associated with Russian intelligence’ who were ‘involved in passing a story’ about Hunter Biden. 
  • The highly disputed claims that Biden financially benefited from his son’s foreign business dealings while he was vice president, including accusations of taking bribes, have been cited by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jordan and other Republican figures in their impeachment proceedings.” [Newsweek, 2/21/24]

The New Republic: Republicans’ Star Hunter Biden Witness Is an Epic Disaster. 

  • The charges against Smirnov are the latest major fail in Republicans’ attempts to impeach Biden, which has been nothing but a comedy of errors. For almost a year, the GOP has insisted that Biden and his son are guilty of corruption. Republicans have not produced a shred of concrete evidence of their claims, but they have repeatedly upheld accusations from a supposedly credible but confidential FBI source (whom we now know is Smirnov) as reason enough to keep investigating the president. 
  • Last July, Senator Chuck Grassley released the FBI materials, over the bureau’s objections, related to the bribery accusations. But the documents showed nothing. Meanwhile, all of the other witnesses that Republicans have called, claiming that their testimony will blow the case wide open, have instead debunked every single accusation against the Biden family.” [The New Republic, 2/20/24]

Raw Story: ‘They’ve Got Nothing’: CNN Analyst Heaps Dirt On GOP’s Biden Impeachment. 

  • “CNN legal analyst Elie Honig on Wednesday shoveled dirt on the Republican-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, which was dealt a lethal blow this week after it was revealed that a key source for the inquiry admitted to having gotten information from people associated with Russian intelligence services.
  • [I]t could be an even bigger embarrassment to House Republicans who peddled Smirnov’s claims as verified facts as they justified an effort to potentially remove Biden from office. ‘Look, the impeachment inquiry, which was officially authorized by the House in December… was already built on a shaky foundation, but this guy was a big part of that foundation,’ said Honig. ‘And now it [ha]s crumbled altogether. I mean, the primary information that he provided to the FBI on which the House relied is essentially that there was this multi-million-dollar bribe payoff made to Hunter Biden and to Joe Biden. And now the FBI has figured out that that was false, so false, so obviously false… I think the House impeachment inquiry, they had a flimsy basis to begin with, and now they’ve gotten nothing.’” [Raw Story, 2/21/24]

Forbes: Russians ‘Involved In Passing A Story’ To Key Biden Impeachment Witness About Hunter Biden, Prosecutors Say. 

  • “Alexander Smirnov—who was arrested last week for allegedly making a false statement about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden—had contact with a number of Russian officials and admitted Russian intelligence officials were involved in passing him a story about Hunter Biden, according to a court document filed Tuesday.
  • News broke last week that Smirnov was arrested for allegedly lying about the Bidens’ involvement with Burisma Holdings, delivering a blow to the Republican impeachment inquiry into President Biden over his alleged foreign business dealings with his son. Smirnov’s claims were praised as ‘credible’ by congressional Republicans, CNN reported, and were used ‘front-and-center’ in the impeachment inquiry. Weiss, who has led the Justice Department’s investigation into Hunter Biden since 2018, brought the indictment against Smirnov.” [Forbes, 2/20/24]

The Guardian: Informant’s Connection To Russian Intelligence Tangles House GOP’s Push To Impeach Biden.

  • “For months, Republicans in the House of Representatives have been inching forward with an effort to impeach Joe Biden for alleged corruption. They have been particularly fixated on his son Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings, but the case against the president was dealt a major blow in recent days, after federal prosecutors brought charges against the former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov. The GOP fixated on Smirnov’s claims that both Bidens received bribes from a Ukrainian energy company, but prosecutors say those were fabricated. In another filing yesterday, the plot unraveled further: Smirnov allegedly had contacts with Russian intelligence, the government said.” [The Guardian, 2/21/24]

Politico Playbook: The Biden Impeachment’s Latest Big Blow.

  • [T]he Smirnov dossier…became the white whale of House and Senate Republicans looking to impeach Joe Biden. Sen. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-Iowa) and Rep. JAMES COMER (R-Ky.) finally got their hands on it last summer. It was never fact-checked. 
  • No recordings of Joe — ‘the big guy’ in Smirnov’s suspiciously familiar words — ever surfaced. No financial records ever showed any Burisma payments to father or son. But Smirnov’s curious tale of Biden family corruption was reported as fact on the right. ‘Biden $10M bribe file released: Burisma chief said he was ‘coerced’ to pay Joe, ‘stupid’ Hunter in bombshell allegations.’ read a NY Post headline. By one count, SEAN HANNITY aired 85 segments about it. KEVIN McCARTHY cited the Smirnov dossier as a reason he was moving forward with impeachment.
  • Last week, we learned that it was all made up. ‘The Defendant’s story to the FBI was a fabrication,’ prosecutors alleged in an indictment of Smirnov. He had ‘transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against’ Biden.
  • But yesterday we learned something more unsettling: Smirnov’s story may have been planted by a Russian intelligence source. In a court filing, federal prosecutors detailed Smirnov’s extensive contacts with Russian officials over the course of many years and alleged that he made a shocking admission during his arrest last week. 
  • The House impeachment effort had already been losing steam. Comer, the Kentucky Republican leading the effort, said recently that a vote might not happen at all, given the House GOP’s tiny majority. And many Republicans suddenly seem more interested in talking about Joe Biden’s age rather than his son Hunter.” [Politico, 2/21/24]

Daily Mail: FBI Informant Alexander Smirnov Who ‘Lied’ About Ukrainian Bribes To Joe And Hunter Biden Had ‘High-Level Contacts With Russian Intelligence Operatives,’ Prosecutors Claim In Bombshell Filing. 

  • “The charges against Smirnov could undercut Republican accusations of bribery and claims Biden was benefitting financial[ly] from his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.
  • But Republicans have made the FD-1023 form in which Smirnov made the accusations central to their case to impeach the sitting president. House Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., attempted to downplay the indictment saying the informant was only part of a complex money trail involving the Bidens and foreigners they are working to unravel. The indictment states in fact, Smirnov 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 when Biden had ‘no ability to influence U.S. policy and after the Ukrainian Prosecutor General had been fired in February 2016.’ The indictment alleges Smirnov transformed his routine business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Biden after expressing bias against Biden and his presidential candidacy.” [Daily Mail, 2/20/24]

Rolling Stone: The GOP’s Star Hunter Biden Witness Was Getting Info From Russian Intelligence: DOJ. 

  • “A former FBI informant charged with fabricating accusations of corruption against President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, told law enforcement that he has been in contact with high-level Russian intelligence officials who were ‘involved in passing [along] a story’ about Hunter Biden.
  • Smirnov’s allegations are part of the basis of a relentless, years-long campaign by Republicans to undermine the Biden administration through accusations of corruption in the presidential family’s foreign business dealings. The claims have been considered thinly sourced and unproven for some time now, and yet House Republicans and right-wing media have repeatedly held them up as factual justification to launch an impeachment inquiry into Biden.” [Rolling Stone, 2/20/24]

NBC News: Prosecutors Say Ex-FBI Informant Charged Over False Hunter Biden Reports Claimed He Got Information From Russian Intelligence.

  • “Smirnov’s claims were a key part of the Republican impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, with GOP leaders citing the unverified claims of the FBI confidential human source over and over again. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the Judiciary Committee chairman helping to lead the GOP’s impeachment push, said just weeks ago that the now-debunked claims from Smirnov were the ‘most corroborating evidence’ that Republicans had in their ongoing impeachment inquiry.
  • House Republicans have spent the days since the indictment downplaying the impact it had on their impeachment inquiry, with House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., saying their case ‘is not reliant’ on the false claims. Comer had threatened to hold the FBI director in contempt over the summer, ultimately convincing the bureau to show members of the Oversight Committee an ‘FD-1023 form’ that documented the false statements Smirnov allegedly made to his FBI handler in 2020, though the bureau emphasized at the time that the existence of the form did not mean the claims were vetted. One of the Republicans who viewed the form quickly proclaimed that Joe Biden was ‘100% guilty’ of bribery.” [NBC News, 2/20/24]

CNN: Indicted Ex-FBI Informant Told Investigators He Got Hunter Biden Dirt From Russian Intelligence Officials.

  • “The explosive revelation comes amid backlash over how Smirnov’s now-debunked allegations played into House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into the president.
  • The false information that Smirnov reported ‘was not trivial,’ prosecutors wrote. ‘It targeted the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States. The effects of Smirnov’s false statements and fabricated information continue to be felt to this day,’ prosecutors said, making an apparent reference to the turmoil in Congress over the discredited bribery allegations – which were a key element of the GOP impeachment probe.” [CNN, 2/20/24

The Hill: DOJ Filing Says FBI Informant Told Investigators He Got Hunter Biden Dirt From Russian Officials.

  • “The confidential source at the heart of the House GOP investigation into Hunter Biden who was charged with lying last week received the information from Russian intelligence, according to a Department of Justice filing Tuesday.
  • Smirnov’s Burisma claims were a focus of public attention in the House GOP investigation of Hunter Biden and related impeachment inquiry into the president. Smirnov’s arrest has raised concerns about the validity of other claims in the investigation… [The Hill, 2/20/24]

Joe Gerth (Louisville Courier-Journal): “So, @JamesComer’s impeachment efforts are built on lies he told that were based on lies peddled by a lying liar receiving instructions by lying Russian intelligence officials. Seems about right.”

Ryan Nobles (NBC News): “This informant’s tip to the FBI has served as a foundational premise of the GOP impeachment inquiry. Now he is accused of not only lying- but working with Russia. All this while today James Biden, the president’s brother, will appear before the Impeachment investigators.”

Arthur Delaney (HuffPost): “Something to note about the FBI informant’s Russian intelligence contacts — it’s mostly according to him that he has these contacts. He’s not a truthful guy. The indictment describes him as making up the bribe allegation on his own.”

Kyle Griffin (MSNBC): “READ: Alexander Smirnov, the FBI confidential source charged for allegedly providing false information about President Biden and Hunter Biden, has admitted that ‘officials associated with Russian intelligence’ were involved in passing a story about Hunter Biden, according to the government’s memorandum in support of his detention.”

Ron Filipkowski (MeidasTouch): “The whole house of cards is tumbling in on itself and we learn that the puppet master pulling the strings of his useful idiots in the US House and right-wing media is Putin. What a shocker they are also against aid to Ukraine and hostile to NATO. Probably a coincidence.”

Andy Kaczynski (CNN): “Indicted ex-FBI informant told investigators he got Hunter Biden dirt from Russian intelligence officials.”

Members of Congress

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08): “House Republicans can either stand with America’s national security interests in Ukraine. Or stand with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It’s that simple.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-14): “James Comer must resign from Congress. For the last two years he has done the work of Russia’s intelligence services to falsely attack President Biden. There must be accountability.”

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (TX-30): “So let me get this right…1) Dems were right & R’s were wrong (AGAIN) about this impeachment nonsense, huh? 2) So James Comer & friends were used as Putin’s Puppets b/c well Putin wants his pal Trump back… 3) AND am I still supposed to do this Hunter Biden Deposition next week? What am I missing? In my humble opinion, it seems like we should spend less time talking about Hunter’s junk & more time digging into, oh say, Russia’s potential, actual infiltration of the Republican PARTY!”

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (TX-30): “This is a disgrace. This entire sham impeachment has been based on the false statements of an admitted Kremlin agent. Now the question is this: did the Chairman know about his star witness’ connections to Russian intelligence?”

Rep. Dan Goldman (NY-10): “Comer and Jordan said this was the best evidence they have… it’s evidence that the Republicans are willing to be used as assets of Russian intelligence.”