Special counsel charges FBI informant with lying to the bureau about Hunter and Joe Biden

Alexander Smirnov, 43, disliked President Joe Biden, according to the Justice Department. He was arrested in Las Vegas after returning from a trip overseas.


WASHINGTON — An FBI informant has been indicted on two counts for allegedly feeding the bureau false information about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Alexander Smirnov, 43, disliked Joe Biden and was arrested in Las Vegas after returning from a trip overseas, according to the Justice Department. The case grew out of the special counsel investigation being led by David Weiss, who is also leading the case against Hunter Biden. Weiss had been appointed by then-President Donald Trump as the top federal prosecutor in Delaware.

The 37-page indictment alleges that Smirnov had been a confidential human source for the FBI since 2010 and "provided false derogatory information to the FBI" about both Bidens after Joe Biden became a candidate for president in 2020.

He is facing one count of making a false statement to a government agent and falsification of records in a federal investigation.

Hunter Biden and Joe Biden at Fort McNair in Washington, on June 25, 2023.Andrew Harnik / AP file

Smirnov allegedly told the FBI — falsely — that officials with Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter Biden worked for, had told him they hired Hunter Biden because he would "protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems." Smirnov allegedly told the FBI — again, falsely — that Burisma officials had told him they paid Hunter Biden and Joe Biden $5 million and that it would take investigators 10 years to find the illicit payments to Joe Biden.

A source familiar with the matter told NBC News that Hunter Biden does not know the individual who was charged and does not believe he ever met him.

An attorney for Hunter Biden told NBC News that Republicans had been warned that they “built their conspiracies about Hunter and his family on lies told by people with agendas, not facts.”

“This is just another instance of Chairman [James] Comer and [Rep. Jim] Jordan peddling falsehoods based on dishonest, uncredible allegations and witnesses,” Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, continued in the statement.

House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin called for an end to the impeachment inquiry following the announcement of the indictment against Smirnov.

Smirnov's account was critical to Republicans' impeachment inquiry into the president.

“This is the biggest political corruption scandal, not only in my lifetime, but I would say the past 100 years,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., chair of the House Republican Conference, told “Fox & Friends” in June of what Republicans had termed the “Biden bribery scheme.”

But according to the indictment, Smirnov's claims to the FBI, which he first made in June 2020, "were fabrications," and, in truth, he only "had contact with executives from Burisma in 2017," when Joe Biden had left office as vice president and "had no ability" to influence U.S. policy.

"In short, the Defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against [Joe Biden], the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for President, after expressing bias against [Joe Biden] and his candidacy," the indictment alleges.

The indictment also states that Smirnov "repeated some of his false claims" after being interviewed by FBI special agents last September — after Hunter Biden's plea deal fell apart that summer — while Smirnov "changed his story as to other of his claims, and promoted a new false narrative after he said he met with Russian officials."

Smirnov wrote in one May 2020 message to his FBI handler that Joe Biden was "going to jail" and suggested that he knew some of the allegations "should be soon in the news."

Smirnov was told at least seven times he may have to testify about information he provided to FBI and was admonished by the handler at least 21 times to tell the truth to the bureau, the indictment says.

The House Oversight Committee first learned of an issue with this confidential informant from the special counsel indictment being made public Thursday afternoon, a source familiar with the Biden family impeachment investigation told NBC News. DOJ, the FBI, and Weiss' office have not reached out to the committee, according to the source.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and other bureau officials briefed members of Congress on this issue last year during multiple in-person meetings. During those meetings, questions about the credibility of this confidential human source were asked, and the FBI told lawmakers that the source was highly valued by the FBI, was considered the "go to" source in the region, and had been paid six figures for work to date.

The FBI officials said at the time that they would not release the records being requested by Congress because the source was so highly valued and involved in multiple ongoing investigations.

A judge on Thursday ordered Smirnov to be detained pending a detention hearing, which has been scheduled for a federal court in Las Vegas next Tuesday at 3 p.m., the special counsel's office confirmed to NBC News.