Democrats Seek Explanations: Why Was Russia’s Alexander Smirnov Used in GOP’s Biden Impeachment Probe?

Credits: Roll Call

When former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov alleged that President Joe Biden and his son Hunter took $5 million bribes from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, House Republicans considered it a crucial piece of evidence in their impeachment investigation against President Biden.

However, Smirnov was later indicted by a federal grand jury for lying to the FBI about these allegations just weeks before the 2020 presidential election.

Democrats (Credits: The Wall Street Journal)

Following Smirnov’s indictment, the House GOP quietly removed references to his claims from their impeachment website. It was revealed that Smirnov received the false claim from his contacts in Russian intelligence, leading to concerns about a Kremlin propaganda campaign.

Some House Democrats are now calling for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate what leading Republican impeachment advocates, such as Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. James Comer, knew about Smirnov’s false claims and when they knew it. They believe this investigation is necessary to determine if they were involved in a Kremlin propaganda campaign.

Rep. Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor, expressed concern about Smirnov’s ties to Russian intelligence, suggesting they are part of a broader Kremlin election-meddling operation that dates back to 2016.

He emphasized the need for the FBI to determine the extent to which members of Congress were aware of Russia’s efforts to meddle in US elections.

Democrats (Credits: USA Today)

Federal investigators have concluded that Smirnov’s efforts to spread misinformation about US candidates are ongoing and not confined to 2020. They argued for keeping Smirnov in custody before trial, citing a risk that he might flee to avoid accountability for his actions.

Prosecutors described instances where Smirnov informed his FBI handler about meetings with high-ranking Russian intelligence officials.

In one instance, he mentioned that Russian officials intercepted calls by prominent US persons that the Russian government could use as “kompromat” in the 2024 election. Kompromat refers to information used to blackmail a target.