President Joe Biden called Friday for the House to shut down its impeachment inquiry into alleged influence peddling after the indictment of an FBI informant who said Biden might have accepted $5 million in bribes while vice president.

Special counsel David Weiss, appointed to investigate the financial activities of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, secured a grand jury indictment against Alexander Smirnov, alleging that he lied to the FBI. Smirnov faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

A reporter asked Biden about the indictment at a press conference Friday, and whether the House should drop its impeachment inquiry.

“He is lying and it should be dropped, and it’s just been an outrageous effort from the beginning,” Biden said of Smirnov and the impeachment probe.

But House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., who is in charge of the inquiry, said the impeachment investigation doesn’t rely on Smirnov’s allegation of a bribe made in an FBI form known as a FD-1023. Comer said other evidence shows that millions of dollars in foreign cash went to Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family.

Business associates of the Biden family have said that Joe Biden, mostly while vice president, was “the brand” in doing business in foreign countries.

“We have over $30 million reasons to continue this investigation and not one of those reasons relies on the corrupt FBI or an informant,” Comer said in a written statement, adding:

Bank records don’t lie. Bank records and witness testimony reveal Joe Biden knew about and participated in his family’s business schemes, and he has repeatedly lied to the American people about these facts. 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.

Last fall, the Oversight Committee released copies of checks showing separate payments of $40,000 and $200,000 made directly to the elder Biden, filtered through either shell companies or family members. This information was separate from claims made by the FBI informant.

The House formally voted in December to approve an impeachment inquiry into Biden. The probe is being conducted by three committees: Oversight and Accountability, Ways and Means, and Judiciary.

The U.S. Central District of California on Thursday unsealed a two-count indictment of Smirnov, 43. He is charged with making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record after the FBI arrested him at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.

A Justice Department press release says: “Smirnov provided false derogatory information to the FBI about Public Official 1, and Businessperson 1, the son of Public Official 1, in 2020, after Public Official 1 became a presidential candidate.”

The release talks about the FBI informant’s discussion with executives from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that named Hunter Biden to its board at a hefty salary.

The informant told FBI officials he learned of a $5 million bribe to be paid to Hunter Biden and $5 million to then-Vice President Joe Biden in 2016 to pull strings to avoid a prosecution of Burisma in Ukraine. The informant asserted that Burisma officials told him the money couldn’t be tracked because of various Biden family shell companies.

The indictment of Smirnov alleges: “Defendant transformed his routine and unextraordinary business
contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against Public Official 1, the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties for President, after expressing bias against Public Official 1 and his candidacy.”

In July, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, released the bribery allegation against Biden in a four-page FBI document, called an FD-1023, that he obtained through a Justice Department whistleblower. FBI special agents use the FD-1023 form to record raw, unverified information obtained from confidential human sources. Such forms don’t reflect the conclusion of an investigation. 

“It costs 5 (million) to pay one Biden, and 5 (million) to another Biden,” the unclassified FD-1023 form quotes then-Burisma CEO Mykola Zlochevsky saying at the 2016 meeting, a reference to the then-vice president and his son, a Burisma board member.

Weiss, also the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware, brought two separate indictments against Hunter Biden, one for tax charges and another on a gun possession charge.

Other Democrats, including Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., ranking member of the Oversight Committee, have called for the closure of the impeachment inquiry.

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