Notorious crime family member pours cold water on Republicans’ impeachment probe into Biden

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A convicted felon and notorious fraudster interviewed by House investigators as part of the Republican-led impeachment probe into President Joe Biden has become the latest in a growing string of witnesses to pour cold water on claims of corruption.

Last week, the probe shifted its’ focus from Washington to Federal Prison Camp Montgomery in Alabama, where House investigators travelled to interview Jason Galanis, known there as Inmate 80739-198.

There, as The Independent previously reported, they sought to question him about business activities he had participated in with fellow convicted criminal Devon Archer – a former business partner of Mr Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

A source familiar with the outcome of the transcribed interview told The Independent that the jailhouse interview turned up nothing in the way of incriminating evidence or testimony linking the president to his son’s activities.

Specifically, the source said that Galanis said under oath that Mr Biden never held any role with any business entity connected to his son.

He also told investigators that he had “no knowledge” of Mr Biden undertaking “any official action” to benefit the business venture in which Galanis, Archer and Hunter Biden were involved.

The source also said Galanis admitted to investigators that Mr Biden’s name was nowhere to be found in any of the documents he and his lawyer, former Trump White House official Mark Paoletta, provided to the House committees.

It’s unclear how Galanis is connected with Mr Paoletta, who serves as an unofficial spokesperson for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and represented Mr Thomas’ wife, right-wing activist Ginni Thomas, when she appeared before the House January 6 select committee.

But The Independent has learned that Mr Paoletta repeatedly interrupted investigators to instruct Galanis not to answer any questions on the matter.

Galanis, who is serving a 14-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, and investment adviser fraud in addition to other crimes, was described in court documents as a “mastermind” of a fraud scheme in which he and Archer worked to convince a Native American tribe to issue economic development bonds, which allowed Galanis to divert the proceeds for his own personal use.

Galanis was also previously convicted of participating in a market manipulation and fraud scheme in which he also evaded a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) order prohibiting him from serving as an officer or executive at publicly traded companies. At the time, then Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said that Galanis had “orchestrated two multimillion-dollar fraud schemes, and hid behind a team of co-conspirators to conceal his involvement and defy an SEC ban”.

Despite his history of deception, leaders of the Republican-led committees had hoped Galanis would link Mr Biden to his son’s business ventures even though a string of other witnesses — including Archer — had failed to do so.

The failure of Galanis to connect the president with his son’s various business endeavours is just the latest in a succession of embarrassing milestones in the years-long House probe, which has thus far been unsuccessful in finding any justification for impeaching the president.

House investigators will conduct a transcribed interview with Hunter Biden this week, just days after a key source in the probe was arrested for a second time on Thursday on charges of having fabricated bribery allegations against Mr Biden.

Last week, federal prosecutors indicted Alexander Smirnov, a former FBI confidential human source, for allegedly fabricating bombshell allegations of bribery against Mr Biden and Hunter Biden.

According to the indictment, Mr Smirnov allegedly “provided false derogatory information” to agents about the Bidens back in June 2020, allegedly telling them about two meetings with an executive from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company which employed Hunter Biden as an attorney and later as a member of its corporate board.

Mr Smirnov allegedly told agents that “executives associated with Burisma, including Burisma Official 1, admitted to him that they hired [Hunter Biden] to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems’”.

He also allegedly told agents that the Burisma executives had made $5m payments to both the president and his son when the elder Mr Biden was vice-president, so that Hunter Biden would “take care of all those issues through his dad”, referring to a criminal probe involving Burisma being conducted in Ukraine.

Prosecutors further allege that Mr Smirnov told agents about a phone call with the executive, in which he claimed he’d been “forced” to pay the alleged bribes and said it would take investigators a decade to find evidence of the payments.

The allegations, which were documented in an FBI form used to record witness interviews, have figured prominently in claims made by Republican members of Congress conducting an impeachment investigation into Mr Biden, most notably House oversight committee chair James Comer and Judiciary committee chair Jim Jordan.

Jason Galanis spoke with House investigators last week (Jason Galanis Holmby Capital Group/Facebook)
Jason Galanis spoke with House investigators last week (Jason Galanis Holmby Capital Group/Facebook)

But they explain that Mr Smirnov’s allegations against the Bidens were completely made up.

Mr Smirnov, they wrote, had only had contact with Burisma executives in 2017, when Joe Biden “had no ability to influence US policy”.

“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 Public Official 1 and his candidacy,” they said.

“Defendant’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 Public Official 1 when he was in office,” they added.

Asked about the events of last week — including the interview of Galanis — an Oversight Committee spokesperson told The Independent that the felon’s failure to connect the president to any wrongdoing was just another in a long list of Republican faceplants on the subject.

“After Smirnov was indicted, Republicans tried to rehab their investigation by interviewing an avowed fraudster who pleaded guilty to defrauding pension funds and a Native American tribe of tens of millions of dollars and is currently serving a decade-long prison sentence,” the spokesperson said.

“Even that guy testified that he has no knowledge of Joe Biden ever taking any official action to benefit Hunter Biden’s business venture”.