FBI informant accused of lying about the Bidens says Russian agents passed him a story about Hunter

Alexander Smirnov told investigators that “officials associated with Russian intelligence” fed him a story about the president’s son.

Hunter Biden leaves a House Oversight Committee meeting on Capitol Hill.
Hunter Biden leaves a House Oversight Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in January. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
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The former FBI informant who was charged last week with making up false bribery claims central to the effort by Republicans in Congress to impeach President Biden told federal agents that Russian intelligence officials fed him a story about Hunter Biden, prosecutors say.

In a court filing Tuesday, they revealed that Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant, “admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about” the president’s son. They did not specify what the story was or clarify whether it was related to the bribery claims about the Biden family.

Here’s what we know, what we don’t know and what’s next.

🔎 Who is Alexander Smirnov?

Smirnov is a 43-year-old dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and former FBI informant who alleged that executives from Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, told him that Hunter Biden, then a member of its board, and Joe Biden, then the vice president, were each paid $5 million in bribes to ensure the firing of Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s top prosecutor.

The allegations formed the basis of the push by House Republicans to impeach Biden. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called Smirnov a “credible” witness when he announced that House Republicans were moving forward with impeachment proceedings.

📢 Why was he arrested?

President Biden and Hunter Biden step off Air Force One last year.
President Biden and Hunter Biden step off Air Force One in Syracuse, N.Y., Feb. 4, 2023. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Smirnov was arrested by the FBI on Feb. 14 at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas after arriving from overseas and charged with making false statements when he “provided false derogatory information to the FBI” about the Bidens.

“The Defendant’s story to the FBI was a fabrication,” prosecutors alleged in the indictment filed by special counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee who has been leading the ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden.

Prosecutors allege that Smirnov “transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma” into bribery allegations against the Bidens.

🇷🇺 What else did he tell the FBI?

Russian President Vladimir Putin clasps his hands at an event in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at an event in Moscow last week. (Getty Images)

According to Tuesday’s court filing, Smirnov told the FBI that Russian intelligence “intercepted several calls placed by prominent U.S. persons the Russian government may use as ‘kompromat’ in the 2024 election.”

Kompromat means compromising material or damaging information that may be used to create negative publicity about a politician, a businessperson or other public figure.

➡️ What’s the latest on the impeachment case?

Jim Jordan speaks to reporters about the indictment of his star witness.
Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks to reporters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

House Republicans are plowing ahead with the impeachment inquiry into President Biden’s business dealings. On Wednesday, James Biden, the president’s brother, met privately with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees to give a deposition for their investigation.

In his opening statement to the panel, James Biden said that throughout his 50-year career, “Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest” in his businesses.

“I never asked my brother to take any official action on behalf of me, my business associates or anyone else,” James Biden said in the statement.

Outside of the closed-door deposition, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan was asked about Smirnov’s indictment and his now discredited claims.

“Well, I mean, it is what it is,” Jordan told reporters. “It doesn’t change the fundamental facts.”

Meanwhile, HuffPost reported that the committees quietly deleted a reference to Smirnov in a letter seeking an interview with a former State Department official.

🗓️ What’s next?

Hunter Biden attends a House Oversight Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in January.
Hunter Biden attends a House Oversight Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Smirnov appeared in a Nevada federal court Tuesday afternoon, where a judge ruled that he be released while he awaits trial. If convicted, Smirnov faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden’s legal team filed motions in federal court Tuesday arguing that Smirnov’s allegations “infected” the separate tax case against their client, and accused Weiss of following Smirnov “down his rabbit hole of lies.”

A pretrial hearing is set for March 27.

Hunter Biden is also scheduled to give a deposition to the House Judiciary and Oversight committees next week.