On Thursday, Alexander Smirnov, a one-time FBI informant, was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with obstruction and making false statements to the FBI. The statements involved President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Ukrainian energy company Burisma and were a key piece in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into the president.

Prosecutors allege that Smirnov was lying when he told the FBI in 2020 that he had contact with Burisma officials in 2015 who told him Hunter Biden was hired “to protect us through his dad. . . from all kinds of problems.”

Prosecutors have revealed that Smirnov did not have contact with Burisma until 2017 after Biden was out of office, and that the contact was “routine and unextraordinary.” They have also stated that the allegations were made after Smirnov “expressed bias” against Biden while he was a presidential candidate.

In his response to the DOJ charges against Smirnov, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky) said the allegations of lying do not affect the House’s impeachment inquiry. The probe, he said, “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.”

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Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-Maryland) told reporters that the arrest would prove fatal to the inquiry. “The impeachment investigation essentially ended yesterday in substance if not in form with the explosive revelation that Mr. Smirnov’s allegations about Ukrainian Burisma payments to Joe Biden were concocted along with Russian intelligence agents.”

Despite Republican’s insistence to the contrary, Smirnov’s allegations have played a large role in the House impeachment inquiry. Then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) cited them in September when the inquiry was announced, saying, “Even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family.”

President Biden has denied any financial benefit or even involvement in his son’s business dealings

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