Updated Feb 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

FBI informant lied about Biden's Burisma ties, indictment says

US President Joe Biden, with son Hunter Biden, arrives at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York, on February 4, 2023.

President Biden and son Hunter Biden in Syracuse, New York, last year. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

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.
  • The indictment against does not specifically name the Bidens.

Zoom in: Smirnov became what the FBI refers to as a "Confidential Human Source" in 2010, and it's alleged he first reported "fabrications" about the Bidens in June 2020, according to the indictment.

  • "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," the indictment states.
  • "[I]n other words, when Public Official 1 [Joe Biden] had no ability to influence U.S. policy and when the Prosecutor General was no longer in office," it adds.
  • “In short, the Defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Public Official 1, the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for President, after expressing bias against [Joe Biden] and his candidacy."

Of note: Smirnov allegedly said Burisma officials told him they hired Hunter Biden, who's identified in the indictment as a businessperson, because he would "protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems."

  • When FBI agents interviewed him last September, the indictment alleges Smirnov "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."

Context: Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss last August as special counsel to lead the investigation into Hunter Biden related to tax charges.

Zoom out: House Republicans have cited unverified information provided by FBI informants as part of their so-far unproven Biden bribery allegations in their impeachment inquiry into the president.

  • Hunter Biden is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees committees for a deposition on Feb. 28 as part of that inquiry.

Read the indictment in full, via DocumentCloud:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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