Ex-FBI Informant Accused of Lying About Bidens Denied Bail Release

Ex-FBI Informant Accused of Lying About Bidens Denied Bail Release

Alexander Smirnov (2nd R) leaves the courthouse in Las Vegas on Feb. 20, 2024. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Jill McLaughlinSamantha Flom

Jill McLaughlin & Samantha Flom

2/26/2024

Updated: 2/28/2024

0

A Los Angeles federal judge decided that Alexander Smirnov must remain in detention while he awaits trial on charges of lying to federal agents and falsifying records about the alleged business dealings of President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Mr. Smirnov asked the judge in downtown Los Angeles to grant him bail, but U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II said he couldn’t find conditions that would ensure he would appear for future court dates, according to the City News Service.
Federal authorities arrested Mr. Smirnov, 43, of Las Vegas twice this month—on Feb. 14 and Feb. 22—on charges of falsifying statements and documents during his time as an FBI informant. Mr. Smirnov was released with a GPS monitor after the first arrest.
After the second arrest, federal prosecutors argued that Mr. Smirnov was a flight risk and could flee to another country. The prosecutors went to the Ninth Circuit court to remove Judge Wright from the case, but that request was denied.
Mr. Smirnov, who was an FBI informant for 10 years, testified to Congress about the business dealings of President Biden and his son with Ukrainian oil company Burisma.
In 2020, Mr. Smirnov told the FBI that Burisma hired Mr. Hunter Biden to “protect” the company “through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” and that the Bidens received $5 million, according to the Justice Department (DOJ).
The statements were central to a Republican House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into President Biden.
Prosecutors argued after the second arrest that Mr. Smirnov should be detained because he admitted that he received information concerning Mr. Hunter Biden from Russian intelligence-linked sources.
“During his custodial interview on February 14, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about Businessperson 1,” a filing by DOJ special counsel David Weiss reads.
The context of the filing makes clear that “Businessperson 1” is Mr. Hunter Biden.
Notably, prosecutors did not suggest that the initial bribery allegations came from Russian intelligence agents. However, they did state that at a September 2023 meeting with FBI investigators, Mr. Smirnov “pushed a new story” about President Biden and his son that he had reportedly learned from four different Russian officials.
Mr. Smirnov reportedly told investigators he had seen footage of Mr. Hunter Biden entering the Premier Palace Hotel in Kiev, which he said was “wired” and “under the control of the Russians.” He suggested that investigators look into whether Mr. Hunter Biden made phone calls from the hotel “since those calls would have been recorded by the Russians.”
Mr. Smirnov allegedly said the recordings had come up in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, with which he claimed to be involved.
“According to Smirnov, the Russians want Ukraine to assist in influencing the U.S. election, and Smirnov thinks the tapes of Businessperson 1 at the Premier Palace Hotel is all they have,” prosecutors wrote.
Mr. Smirnov’s arrest has cast a long shadow over House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Previously, Republicans had touted Mr. Smirnov’s June 2020 FBI informant report detailing the Biden bribery as a key piece of evidence in the problem.
Democrats have responded to the news of Mr. Smirnov’s Russian connections as evidence that the entire probe is baseless.
“The impeachment investigation essentially ended yesterday, in substance,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told The Epoch Times.
“It appears like the whole thing is not only obviously false and fraudulent but a product of Russian disinformation and propaganda. And that’s been the motor force behind this investigation for more than a year.”
Republican investigators have downplayed Mr. Smirnov’s indictment, holding that whatever the outcome, their case against the president remains strong.
They have also challenged the DOJ case against the former informant, charging that investigators have “a lot of explaining to do.”
“Why did they use this informant, who officials claimed was highly credible, since 2010?” Oversight Committee Republicans wrote in a post on social media platform X. “Why did they pay the informant six figures? Why did the DOJ sit on serious allegations from the informant whom the FBI deemed highly credible for years before investigating the claims?
“The American people deserve answers.”
Meanwhile, Republicans are also acknowledging that a Biden impeachment vote is unlikely given the GOP’s razor-thin majority.
“I don’t think we are going to get to a point, quite honestly, where we are going to be able to impeach him, especially with the thin margin that we have,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

Author's Selected Articles
Samantha Flom

Samantha Flom

Author

Samantha Flom is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering U.S. politics and news. A graduate of Syracuse University, she has a background in journalism and nonprofit communications. Contact her at samantha.flom@epochtimes.us.

California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.