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Former FBI informant accused of lying about Biden's role in Ukraine business, undermines GOP impeachment inquiry

Former FBI informant accused of lying about Biden's role in Ukraine business, undermines GOP impeachment inquiry

(CNN) — Special counsel David Weiss has accused a former FBI informant of lying about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden's business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

Alexander Smirnov, 43, faces charges of lying to the FBI and creating false records. He was arrested Thursday at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas after arriving in the United States from abroad and is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon.

CNN is working to determine if Smirno has an attorney.

Smirnov's story to the FBI alleges that the story is a fabrication, that otherwise unspecified meetings and business contacts actually took place, but at a later date than he claimed and for the purpose of promoting the accused's services and products, not to mention bribes. [Joe Biden] When I was in office.”

Congressional Republicans have been defending Smirno's now-dismissed allegations by name, if not for nearly a year. Smirnov fought the FBI to obtain notes about what he told investigators and released the material publicly over the FBI's objections. Congressional Republicans have repeatedly praised Smirno for his “credibility” and put his uncorroborated claims at the center of their impeachment inquiry against the president.

to Report an inquiry, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said “a reliable FBI informant has reported bribes to the Biden family.” The FBI is now using some of the same memos that congressional Republicans made public as part of the impeachment inquiry against Smirnov.

“We have warned for months that Republicans have built their conspiracy theories about Hunter and his family on lies told by people with political agendas, not facts,” Abe Lowell, Hunter Biden's attorney, said in a statement to CNN.

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“This is another case of Presidents Qamar and Jordan spreading lies based on dishonest and unreliable allegations and witnesses,” he added.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer said in a statement to CNN on Thursday that his investigation into the president does not revolve around Smirnov or his claims. FD-1023 – A format used by the FBI for information gathered from confidential sources cited by Republican lawmakers.

“To be clear, the impeachment inquiry does not rely on the FBI's FD-1023. It relies on an extensive evidentiary record, including bank records and witness testimony, revealing that Joe Biden was aware of and participated in his family's business dealings,” the Kentucky Republican said.

He added that the FBI had previously defended Smirnow's credibility.

“When the commission asked about its confidence in the confidential human source, the FBI told the commission that the confidential human source was reliable and trustworthy, that he had worked with the FBI for more than a decade and that he had received six salary figures,” Comer added.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who Form 1023 was made public last year After the FBI declined to do so, he said his goal was to have the Justice Department investigate bribery allegations against Biden.

“This allegation is insufficient,” a Grassley spokeswoman said in a statement. “The public has a right to see all the underlying evidence supporting the Biden Justice Department's case. The Biden administration needs to show its work.”

According to court records, Smirnov told an FBI agent that he had spoken to the owner of Burisma about the company's efforts to buy a company in the United States.

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As part of his statement to the FBI, according to the indictment, Smirnov mentioned that a man known as “Businessman 1” was on Burisma's board of directors and was the son of a man known as “Public Officer 1.” Although the indictment does not identify these individuals, the sources identified “Public Official 1” as Joe Biden and “Businessman 1” as Hunter Biden.

During Joe Biden's campaign for president, Smirnov reportedly filed reports with the FBI about two meetings with Burisma executives in 2015 and 2016, during which the executives admitted Hunter Biden was “hired by his father to protect us from all kinds of trouble.” Smirnov said, referring to the criminal investigation. According to Smirnov, Joe Biden gave Joe and Hunter Biden $5 million each when Hunter was vice president of the United States to “take care of all those problems through his father.” At that time the Prosecutor General of Ukraine was running Purisma.

“In fact, the defendant communicated with Burma officials in 2017 after the end of the Obama-Biden administration and the February 2016 firing of the then-Attorney General of Ukraine. In other words, when [Joe Biden] “When the Attorney General is not in office, he has no ability to influence the policy of the United States,” the indictment states.

He continues: “In short, the defendant changed his routine and non-routine business dealings with Burma in 2017, and later turned them into bribery charges. [Joe Biden]A potential candidate of one of the two major political parties for the presidency, after expressing prejudices against [Joe Biden] and his candidacy”.

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— CNN's Annie Grayer and Manu Raju contributed to this report.