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Powerline Blog
Power Line
24 Feb 2024
Scott Johnson


NextImg:The Smirnov turnoff

We are apparently meant to take last week’s indictment of long-time FBI confidential human source Alexander Smirnov as a repudiation of what we have learned about the Biden family business. Smirnov’s indictment was sought by Biden-friendly United States Attorney David Weiss. It is linked in the related Department of Justice press release.

Kim Strassel observes in her weekly Wall Street Journal column: “If th[e allegations are] true, it ought to be massive story that the FBI for 13 years relied on a man who prosecutors now worry has troubling and ‘extensive’ ties to Russian intelligence. Instead, the media in its desire to embarrass Republicans is working to absolve the FBI, with the New York Times explaining the bureau never did ‘think much’ of the Smirnov claims and concluded in 2020 that they ‘did not merit continued investigation.’”

This particular episode of the Biden saga reminds me of the phonetically linked Yakov Smirnoff. Smirnoff is the immigrant comedian who used his catchphrase to great effect: Is this a great country or what? Smirnoff’s catchphrase might qualify as the motto of the entire saga of the Biden family business. Looking around for a photo of Yakov Smirnoff I discovered that Jonathan Turley also drew on Smirnoff’s work in his New York Post column on the indictment.

Peter Schweizer first outlined the Biden family saga based entirely on publicly available documents in Profiles in Corruption (2020). In one of the interviews about the book, Peter observed: “We’re not talking about a congressman who’s trying to get a road paving for his nephew from the federal highway funds…We’re talking about globalized graft and corruption involving actors around the world who don’t particularly have the interests of the United States at heart.”

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy elaborated on “David Weiss’s Very Peculiar Smirnov Indictment in the Biden Case.” He comments: “[N]one of the most critical evidence of Biden-family influence-peddling comes from Smirnov or Russians.”

I sat down intending to demonstrate the irrelevance of the Smirnov indictment in light of the evidence accumulated to date, but Andy has done my job for me this morning in today’s NRO column “The Smirnov Indictment Does Not Vindicate the Bidens.” Subhead: “There is already extensive evidence, having nothing to do with Smirnov, of corrupt Biden-family influence-peddling.” If you can’t see the corruption, you’re not paying attention or you’re not looking. It’s in plain view.

I’m sorry these McCarthy columns are posted behind NRO’s paywall. I wish some public-spirited benefactor would make a deal with NR’s publisher to extract McCarthy from NRO’s paywall prison. He brings his long experience as a federal prosecutor to bear and is the best columnist out there on matters at the intersection of law and politics.

The Wall Street Journal has posted Mark Kelly’s accessible video below in connection with the appearance of James Biden appearance for deposition by the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees behind closed doors this week (Fox News story here). The caption on the video reads: “The latest revelations in the House Oversight Committee investigation into Biden family business dealings surrounds two checks that landed in Joe Biden’s personal bank account, one for $40,000, the other for $200,000.” As I say, if you can’t see it you’re not looking.