Senators demand FBI agents testify about ‘highly credible’ source who allegedly made up Biden bribery scheme

Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson are demanding the FBI make Alexander Smirnov’s handling agent and his superiors available for interviews as they investigate what steps the bureau and the Justice Department took to investigate the now-infamous FD-1023 form alleging a criminal bribery scheme involving Joe Biden and Ukraine. 

Fox News Digital obtained a letter Grassley, R-Iowa, and Johnson, R-Wis., sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Special Counsel David Weiss late Tuesday. 

‘Since October 13, 2022, Congress has requested from the Justice Department and FBI information and records relating to the FD-1023 to better understand what steps, if any, the Justice Department took to investigate the document,’ Grassley and Johnson wrote.

Grassley was approached by a whistleblower in 2022 who alleged the FBI was in possession of a document — the FD-1023 — which dated back to 2020 and detailed a bribery scheme between Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and the top executive of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.

An FD-1023 form is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting from confidential human sources. The form is used to document information as told to an FBI agent, but recording that information does not validate or weigh it against other information known by the FBI. 

The FD-1023 details claims from FBI confidential human source Alexander Smirnov who told the FBI in June 2020 about meetings he had with Burisma executives years prior, where they supposedly admitted that they hired Hunter Biden to sit on the board of the company to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.’ 

Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma while his father was vice president. 

The FD-1023 document includes Smirnov’s claims that Burisma executives paid $5 million to Joe Biden and $5 million to Hunter Biden, while Joe Biden was still in office as vice president. Smirnov also claims that the Bidens were paid so that Joe Biden could help to quash criminal investigation into Burisma being conducted by then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. 

Shokin was eventually fired, which Joe Biden had publicly boasted about. Biden and allies have said that the firing of Shokin was in an effort to root out corruption in Ukraine. Joe Biden, at the time, ran U.S.-Ukraine policy. 

Smirnov has since been indicted on charges of making false statements and creating a false and fictitious record relating to the Biden’s business ties in Ukraine. The charges stem from Special Counsel David Weiss’ investigation. Smirnov has pleaded not guilty and is expected to stand trial later this month. 

‘The federal indictment of Smirnov leaves many questions unanswered, including how the Justice Department and FBI could use this Confidential Human Source for approximately 14 years, pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars, use his information in investigations and prosecutions, and then ultimately determine he’s a liar,’ Grassley and Johnson wrote. 

Grassley and Johnson also pointed out that the FBI ‘refused to confirm even the existence of the FD-1023’ until May 2023, when Grassley and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer notified Wray during a phone call that they had reviewed it. 

During that call, Wray informed Grassley and Comer of ‘the importance of the Confidential Human Source (Smirnov) to the FBI’s investigative work.’ 

‘Indeed, in regard to that alleged credibility, the FBI informed the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability that the Confidential Human Source was ‘highly credible,’ trusted, and had worked for the FBI for years and had been paid ‘six figures,’’ the letter states, adding that the ‘FBI further represented to Congress that information from the Confidential Human Source was used in criminal investigations and prosecutions.’ 

Grassley and Johnson also pointed out testimony from top Justice Department officials, like then-U.S. Attorney Scott Brady, who said the FD-1023 and the confidential human source ‘was vetted against sources of Russian disinformation’ and that DOJ officials ‘found that it was not sourced from Russian disinformation.’ 

They also noted Wray’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in December, in which he said he ‘learned of the 1023 much, much, much more recently than anything around 2020 that’s for sure.’ 

‘That answer underscores the problem that the FBI Director was not apprised of the FD-1023 until apparently years after it was created,’they wrote.’Why was the FBI Director kept in the dark for so long when the FBI told Congress their Confidential Human Source was ‘highly credible’ and the matter involved an alleged criminal scheme with the sitting president?’

Wray risked being held in contempt of Congress last year over the form, after it was subpoenaed and the FBI failed to produce it in order to protect the CHS. Wray eventually brought the form to Capitol Hill for lawmakers to review in a SCIF. 

Grassley ultimately released a redacted version of the FD-1023 to the public in July 2023.

They further asked why investigative steps weren’t taken, such as interviewing Smirnov to ‘determine the veracity, or lack thereof, with respect to the FD-1023 for over three years?’

Grassley and Johnson pointed out that the FBI did finally interview Smirnov, but did so on Sept. 27, 2023 and ‘failed to apprise Congress of that fact.’ 

Grassley and Johnson said that the Smirnov indictment, which was filed in February, shows that the FBI and Weiss ‘failed to even interview’ Smirnov until September 2023, after Grassley and Comer ‘forced their hands and made the FD-1023 public on July 20, 2023.’ 

Grassley and Johnson noted that a month later, in late August, FBI investigators spoke with the FBI handling agent responsible for Smirnov. 

‘The FBI’s questionable handling of this Confidential Human Source underscores, as Senator Johnson has pointed out, a greater scandal relating to the overall corruption within federal law enforcement, the Justice Department, and the intelligence community,’ they wrote. 

Grassley and Johnson are requesting the Justice Department and FBI make Smirnov’s handling agent and his superiors available for a ‘full-day transcribed interview no later than May 7, 2024.’ 

The names of those individuals are included in the letter but are fully redacted. 

Grassley, on Wednesday, reacted to his request, telling Fox News Digital that the ‘FBI swore up and down to me and my congressional colleagues that their Confidential Human Source was credible, but when they finally took a look at his information like I asked, they now tell the public he turned up red flags.’

‘If it weren’t for my oversight, Smirnov would still be spinning tales for the FBI on the taxpayer’s dime,’ Grassley said. ‘It is the FBI and DOJ’s job to carry out sensitive investigations in an unbiased, prudent and timely manner. But almost four years after the FD-1023 was created, the Justice Department and FBI have yet to come clean to the American people, confirm they’ve investigated every aspect of it and conclusively say they’ve run the entire matter to the ground once and for all.’ 

Grassley said this situation is a ‘prime example of the train wreck that ensues when you let partisan politics get in the way of your constitutional duty, and when the government stiff-arms Congress and the American people.’ 

‘The FBI and DOJ ought to be embarrassed by their colossal transparency failures,’ Grassley told Fox News Digital. ‘I won’t stop until all those responsible have been held to account and there is full transparency regarding the government’s conduct in this matter.’ 

Sen. Ron Johnson agreed, telling Fox News Digital that the FBI and DOJ’s ‘questionable’ handling of Smirnov and its ‘refusal to provide transparency to Congress underscores the scandal of the overall corruption within our federal law enforcement agencies.’ 

The DOJ and FBI confirmed receipt of the letter, but declined to comment further to Fox News Digital.

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