• Show Notes

Dear Reader,

Look. I know you’ve got 99 problems and Hunter Biden isn’t one of them. But in the midst of last week’s avalanche of legal news about Trump was a major bombshell about President Biden – or at least the efforts to try to get him impeached. Specifically, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer’s star witness, a 43 year-old businessman named Alexander Smirnov, was indicted on two counts of making false statements to the FBI and falsification of records. You’ll be shocked to know that the charges against Smirnov contain all of the elements of which Republicans are currently accusing Trump’s prosecutors: fabricated evidence, political bias, and an attempt to influence an election.

If you have no idea who Alexander Smirnov is, you’re not alone. He’s pretty much a rando in the public sphere, but it turns out that he has been a confidential human source (CHS) for the FBI, providing information to them since 2010. In 2017, Smirnov reported to his FBI handler that he had spoken to an official at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. Burisma was interested in acquiring a U.S.company and making an IPO on the U.S. stock exchange. He noted, as an aside, that Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma, a fact that was publicly known at the time.

Before diving deeper into the charges against Smirnov, it’s important to fast-forward and understand the central claim being made today in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against Biden. It’s a little hard to decipher the specifics, and I have written about it in much detail if you have a lot of time on your hands and want to go down a Hunter Biden Laptop rabbit hole. But the basic thrust of the allegation is that Hunter was appointed to Burisma’s board in 2014 as a conduit for influencing his dad, who was Vice President at the time. The main claim is that Burisma bribed both Hunter and President Biden to make an investigation into the company by a Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin go away. In March 2016, then-Vice President Biden indeed withheld $1 billion in aid to Ukraine to pressure its top officials to fire Shokin. According to the impeachment inquiry, this was in return for bribery payments made by Burisma to Joe Biden via his son.