Indicted FBI informant central to GOP Biden probe rearrested

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The FBI informant indicted for making up an allegation central to the GOP impeachment case against President Biden was rearrested Thursday morning, according to court documents.

Alexander Smirnov, 43, was arrested during a Thursday morning meeting with his lawyers after prosecutors appealed a judge’s ruling that had allowed Smirnov to be released with a GPS monitor ahead of his trial, his lawyers confirmed to The Hill.

“He had previously been released by a federal Magistrate Judge after a full and complete hearing where both sides were heard,” Smirnov’s lawyers, David Cheznoff and Richard Schonfeld, wrote in a statement to The Hill. “He was inside our law office at the time of his arrest, preparing his defense.”

His counsel added the are pursuing “lawful remedies” for his release.

The arrest comes a week after Smirnov was charged last Thursday with lying to the FBI when he said President Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, had received $5 million bribes from the head of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Department of Justice prosecutors on Tuesday argued Smirnov should be detained after he told investigators the claims originated from Russian intelligence.

“During his custodial interview on February 14, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about Businessperson 1,” the prosecution’s filing read, with Businessperson 1 referring to Hunter Biden.

DOJ prosecutors also argued Smirnov should be detained as he previously made plans to travel outside the U.S. to meet with “multiple foreign intelligence agencies,” that could relocate him outside the U.S.

Smirnov’s arrest dealt a major blow to the House GOP’s ongoing probe into Hunter Biden as part of its impeachment inquiry into the president. House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) has shrugged off the new concerns over the investigation’s validity and maintained the committee’ impeachment claims are not based on Smirnov’s accusations. 

Comer last week claimed the FBI previously refused to release an unredacted version of Smirnov’s allegations on the basis of privacy as a confidential source.

“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,” Comer said in a statement last week. “To be clear, the impeachment inquiry is not reliant on the FBI’s FD-1023,” he continued, a reference to Smirnov’s claims to the FBI. 

The Hill reached out to the Department of Justice for comment.

This story was updated at 6:22 p.m. 

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