GOP Congressman Says Colleagues ‘Were Warned’ About Ex-FBI Informant

Republican Congressman Ken Buck said that House members “were warned” that allegations leveled by an ex-FBI informant regarding President Joe Biden’s business dealings may not be credible.

Alexander Smirnov, whose statements about the Biden family’s alleged dealings in Ukraine drove the Republican-led push for an impeachment inquiry against the president, was charged last week, accused of lying to the FBI and manufacturing fraudulent records. According to the indictment, Smirnov fabricated claims that Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, each sought $5 million bribes from Ukrainian energy company Burisma in exchange for favors while Biden served as vice president.

The charges against Smirnov have sparked new criticism against House Republicans, who have led an inquiry into the Biden family for months but have yet to connect the president to accusations surrounding Hunter Biden. House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, who is leading impeachment efforts, told Newsweek last week, however, that the inquiry into Biden was “not reliant on” Smirnov’s claims.

GOP Congressman: Colleagues 'Were Warned' About FBIInformant
Representative Ken Buck is pictured at the U.S. Capitol on February 6 in Washington, D.C. The Republican on Wednesday told CNN that lawmakers had been “warned” to be cautious regarding the validity of bribery accusations…

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Speaking to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Wednesday evening, Buck pushed back on impeachment efforts by his Republican colleagues in light of the charges against Smirnov, claiming that lawmakers “were warned at the time that we received the document outlining this witness’ testimony … that the credibility of this statement was not known.”

“And yet people, my colleagues, went out and talked to the public about how this was credible and how it was damning and how it proved President Biden’s complicity in receiving bribes,” Buck said. It appears to absolutely be false and to really undercut the nature of the charges.”

“We’ve always been looking for a link between what Hunter Biden received in terms of money and Joe Biden’s activities or Joe Biden receiving money,” he continued. “This clearly is not a credible link at this point.”

Buck, a Republican from Colorado, told Collins that while he has yet to see evidence against the president that would warrant an impeachment vote, he still found Hunter Biden’s connections to Burisma “suspicious.” The president’s son previously served on the board of the natural gas company.

“If the impeachment inquiry was based on this witness, it undermines the credibility of this impeachment,” Buck said. “I will say that it’s suspicious that anybody would pay Hunter Biden as much money as they paid him without any expertise in the oil and gas industry … so those things are suspicious. But again, there’s no link directly to [then-] Vice President Biden’s activities.”

Newsweek reached out to Comer’s office via email Wednesday evening for comment.

Republicans fought for the release of the raw FBI notes regarding Smirnov’s claims last summer, which federal investigators had asked to withhold from the public to protect “important security interests.” A federal prosecutor had testified in October before the House Judiciary Committee that Smirnov was an “important confidential human source,” seemingly giving validity to the informant’s claims against Biden and his family.

In his statement to Newsweek last week, Comer said that the “FBI’s actions in this matter are very concerning,” adding that a source in the bureau had told lawmakers that Smirnov “was credible and trusted, had worked with the FBI for over a decade, and had been paid six figures.”