Raskin calls on GOP to end Biden impeachment inquiry after indictment of FBI informant

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Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) is calling on House Republicans to end their impeachment inquiry into President Biden following the indictment of the FBI informant at the center of the conference’s allegations that the president accepted a bribe.

The statement from Raskin — the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee — came shortly after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges against Alexander Smirnov, 43, based on accusations that he made up claims regarding Biden. He was charged with making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record as part of the investigation being led by special counsel David Weiss.

Republicans have cited conversations Smirnov, previously known only as a confidential source, had with the FBI, in which he said the head of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma informed him that he paid Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, each $5 million in an effort to avoid scrutiny of his company. Those allegations are at the heart of the GOP’s claim that the president accepted a bribe.

“In a detailed indictment, Special Counsel David Weiss — who was appointed by former President Donald Trump — has demonstrated how key evidence at the heart of House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry is based on a lie,” Raskin said. “Special Counsel Weiss’s investigation is just the most recent to debunk the Ukraine-Burisma conspiracy theory at the heart of this fraudulent impeachment inquiry.”

“It is an undeniable fact that Republicans’ allegations against President Biden have always been a tissue of lies built on conspiracy theories, and I formally call on Speaker Johnson, Chairman Comer, and House Republicans to stop promoting this nonsense and end their doomed impeachment inquiry,” he added.

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) shot back at Raskin, calling him “a broken record having called for an end to our investigation since the day it started.”

“He isn’t credible,” Comer said. “The American people demand the truth and accountability for any wrongdoing. We will continue to follow the facts to propose legislation to reform federal ethics laws and to determine whether articles of impeachment are warranted.”

Smirnov’s allegations regarding the Bidens, documented in an FBI FD-1023 form that memorializes source tips, stem from a conversation he had with Mykola Zlochevsky, the CEO and founder of Burisma.

The FBI did not corroborate the information Smirnov provided, but Republicans nonetheless have cited it on several occasions when discussing their impeachment inquiry against Biden. In July, Republicans released a copy of the form.

Zlochevsky would later appear to refute this claim in information supplied to Congress during Trump’s impeachment through an exchange captured with Vitaly Pruss, an associate of Rudy Giuliani. 

Republicans have tried to link Smirnov’s allegations to then-Vice President Biden’s attempts to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been accused by the international community of falling short of addressing corruption.

Biden, as vice president, conditioned a $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine to oust state prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Republicans have contended that the loan guarantee was beneficial for Burisma and therefore Hunter Biden, who served on the board of the company. That narrative, however, was refuted since a previous investigation into Burisma went dormant and a new prosecutor risked greater scrutiny of the company.

The probe has been wide in scope, spanning the Biden family’s personal and business finances and a DOJ probe into Hunter Biden’s failure to pay taxes.

Comer brushed off the significance of Smirnov’s indictment as it relates to the impeachment inquiry, arguing that the probe is “not reliant” on the FBI informant’s information.

“To be clear, the impeachment inquiry is not reliant on the FBI’s FD-1023. It is based on a large record of evidence, including bank records and witness testimony, revealing that Joe Biden knew of and participated in his family’s business dealings,” Comer said.

He also said the FBI told the committee that the informant “was credible and trusted, had worked with the FBI for over a decade, and had been paid six figures.”

“The FBI’s actions in this matter are very concerning,” he continued. “The FBI had this form for years and it appears they did nothing to verify the troubling claims contained within the record until Congress became aware of and demanded access to them.”

The indictment, however, noted that Smirnov had received “repeated admonishments” to provide truthful information to the FBI.

Authorities arrested Smirnov at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nev., on Wednesday, after he arrived in the U.S. from overseas. He is facing a maximum of 25 years in prison.

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