Headline RoundupFebruary 21st, 2024

Discredited FBI Informant in Biden Probe Got Some Info From Russian Intelligence

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A former FBI informant — charged with lying about bribery claims against President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter — told investigators that Russian intelligence officials were involved in passing him information. 

The Details: In a court filing, prosecutors said Alexander Smirnov revealed in an interview before his arrest that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story” to him about Hunter Biden. Prosecutors did not specify which of Smirnov’s claims had been fed to him by Russian officials. Smirnov also reportedly said he had “extensive and extremely recent” contact with foreign intelligence officials. 

For Context: Smirnov was charged and arrested on February 15 for allegedly making false statements to the FBI. Because Smirnov’s claims had been touted by House Republicans, some suggested the revelation could delegitimize the Biden impeachment inquiry. However, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) said Wednesday that Smirnov’s arrest “doesn’t change the fundamental facts” of the investigation. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was common across the spectrum, but some coverage from the left appeared particularly enthusiastic about the story, framing Jim Jordan as “desperately trying to spin the damning news” and emphasizing that the informant’s claims had been “widely publicized by Republicans.” Meanwhile, some on the right echoed Jordan’s remarks, saying the “lying witness does not exonerate the Bidens.” 

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