The GOP impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is crashing and burning without its star witness, Alexander Smirnov, but Republicans were still primed and ready to answer pressing questions from reporters—actually, wait, no they weren’t.
Representative Andy Biggs somehow made an even more embarrassing attempt at defending the now transparently baseless impeachment effort than Representative Jim Jordan did on Wednesday, flatly insisting that the party had plenty to go on without Smirnov.
“What evidence do you have of a bribery scheme now?” a reporter asked the House Oversight Committee member.
“We got lots of evidence, yes,” Biggs replied as he hurried past a crush of reporters, refusing to elaborate.
Republicans had spent months building up the hype around Smirnov as a witness, isolating his allegation that Biden had pocketed millions of dollars from a Ukrainian oligarch as the centerpiece of their probe.
But on Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed that Smirnov admitted to prosecutors that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved” in developing the Hunter Biden narrative. In a court filing, Smirnov told investigators he was in contact with “four different [top] Russian officials,” two of whom were the “heads of the entities they represent.”
“It targeted the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States. The effects of Smirnov’s false statements and fabricated information continue to be felt to this day,” prosecutors wrote, noting that Smirnov’s contacts were “not benign.”
Those revelations came after Smirnov was charged with lying to the FBI about his Biden allegations.
Republican waffling on whether to continue the probe offers just another whiff of Russian meddling in a presidential election—and legal experts have picked up on the scent, predicting that the effort to save Smirnov’s testimony could spell certain disaster for the Republican lawmakers leading the effort.