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Alexander Smirnov and the Alleged Biden Bribe: Where’s the Truth?

A once-trusted FBI informant is now accused of lying about Joe Biden.

Alexander Smirnov may sound like a character from a low-budget spy movie, but he is a real-life confidential human source (CHS) – commonly known as an informant – for the FBI. Back in 2020, Smirnov made a claim about Joe Biden that, if verified and made public before the presidential election, would have destroyed any hope Biden had of becoming president. In fact, he would almost certainly have gone to prison. As things stand today, based on publicly available information, there is no way of knowing if Smirnov’s allegation is true. The Department of Justice (DOJ) now says it is not, and Smirnov is being charged with obstruction and giving false information to the FBI.

So many questions arise from this affair: Why now? How can the DOJ be sure the FBI was lied to? Why did it take them more than three years to figure it out? Then, there’s another fascinating question: How are the Russians allegedly involved in all of this?

According to what Smirnov told the FBI, Joe Biden, while he was vice president, received $5 million from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma to get Ukraine’s prosecutor general fired because he was investigating corruption at the company.

Since this whole matter is so politically charged and since the DOJ – justifiably or not – has lost a great deal of credibility in the eyes of many Americans, it is important to unpack the story by laying out what is known. Anything beyond that is, at this point, purely speculative. Joe Biden’s critics will draw one conclusion about Alexander Smirnov and what he alleged. Biden’s supporters will draw another. The truth is unknown – at least for now.

Alexander Smirnov and the Facts So Far

Smirnov is a 43-year-old businessman and an Israeli citizen – some media reports say he also holds American citizenship, which is entirely feasible. By all accounts, the FBI had considered Smirnov a credible CHS for many years. He had assisted the Bureau with several investigations. In July 2020, he told agents about a Burisma scheme to bribe the then-vice president of the United States. Smirnov claimed a Burisma executive told him during conversations in 2015 and 2016 that the company hired Hunter Biden to its board of directors to “protect us, through his dad … from all kinds of problems.” Specifically, Smirnov was allegedly told that Joe and Hunter Biden were each paid $5 million to make the corruption investigation targeting Burisma go away.

US Vice President Joe Biden in UkraineUS Vice President Joe Biden, during a joint press conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Kiev. Ukraine, Monday, December 7, 2015 Biden arrived to Ukraine on a two-day official visit with meetings planned with President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and representatives from Ukrainian civil society. (Photo by Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

(Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Hunter Biden was indeed appointed to Burisma’s board while his father was VP. Despite knowing nothing about Ukraine or the energy industry, he was paid handsomely and met with Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, and other executives at meetings outside of Ukraine. A Reuters report from October 2019 noted that “people familiar with Biden’s role at the company” said he was regarded as “a helpful non-executive director with a powerful name.”

According to witness testimony and other evidence in House Republicans’ impeachment investigation of Joe Biden, calls were made between Burisma executives, Hunter Biden, and Joe Biden. In March 2016, Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine and used a billion dollars’ worth of US loan guarantees as leverage to get the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, fired. That event is not in dispute. Joe Biden himself is on video recounting the meeting during which he directly threatened to withhold the $1 billion unless Shokin was ousted.

The left-wing media narrative around the firing has it that Shokin was not even investigating Burisma and that Western envoys wanted him gone because he had failed to fight corruption. But facts contradict this. Shokin seized the assets of Burisma owner Zlochevsky. Messages between the US State Department and Shokin, made public just months ago, reveal that the Obama administration was very supportive of Shokin’s efforts in fighting corruption and even invited his people to the White House – although that visit never took place because Biden had him fired before it could.

Another known fact is that Smirnov was not the only confidential human source providing the FBI with information about Biden family corruption. In October 2023, Liberty Nation reported, “Several federal government whistleblowers have testified that the FBI – specifically, the Washington, DC, field office – made great efforts to shut down these confidential human sources by discrediting them with the claim that the intelligence they were providing was foreign disinformation.”

New banner Opinion 1This brings us back to Alexander Smirnov. Prosecutor David Weiss, who is now a special counsel investigating Hunter Biden, alleges – more than three years after the fact – that Smirnov lied about the alleged $5 million payments to Joe and Hunter Biden. Additionally, the Justice Department now says that Smirnov has been in frequent contact with Russian intelligence operatives.

This comes just at a time when the media has rekindled “the Red Scare,” claiming that Russia is hard at work trying to influence the 2024 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor – even though it recently came to light that the CIA has been sitting on an intelligence report that concludes the Kremlin wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 election and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent admission that he considers Joe Biden a better choice than Trump.

Is the DOJ persecuting and silencing a once-trusted FBI informant because he revealed a bribery scheme that would have solidified House Republicans’ impeachment case against Joe Biden and ensured his defeat in November? Or did this informant recklessly feed the FBI a completely fabricated story containing an explosive but made-up accusation against the man who was at the time running to be the next president? If the latter is true, Alexander Smirnov risked everything – his reputation, his position as a CHS for the FBI, and even his freedom – to lie about Joe Biden.

Irony Abounds

Which is more believable? Consider the irony that, in 2016, the FBI dove into a full investigation of another presidential candidate based on information it received and didn’t even attempt to verify. That information – suggesting that Trump was conspiring with the Russians to steal the election – turned out to be nothing more than gossip, innuendo, and some very thin, almost ethereal, threads of vaguely circumstantial evidence.

Smirnov may indeed have invented a story about a bribe. Of course, the American people know only what the DOJ is alleging, and, naturally, they will be told that the details, the evidence, and the proof that Smirnov is lying cannot be revealed because it’s an ongoing investigation. It’s classified. It’s a matter of national security. Unless and until the evidence against the informant is made public, the Justice Department – even if it truly does have Smirnov dead to rights – will continue to handle this whole affair under a cloud of suspicion. Those Americans who want real answers must, in the meantime, consider all the known facts, put them in context, and then draw their own conclusions.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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