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Russiagate redux? DOJ does not want formerly trusted FBI informant walking the streets

Media tried but failed to get a shot of Alexander Smirnov's face after he was released from custody on Tuesday.
Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, February 22, 2024

Back before a series of indictments of twice-impeached Donald Trump failed to stop the former president's soaring bipartisan popularity, Alexander Smirnov was a paid FBI source who had been frequently used since the Obama Administration and was deemed to be “highly credible.”

Then, Smirnov said he had proof that Ukrainian energy company Burisma had paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each in bribes.

That brought the swift hand of Biden-style justice down on the 43-year-old, who was arrested last week at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. He was indicted on charges he lied to the FBI.

Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Albregts in Nevada released Smirnov on Tuesday on condition that he wear an electronic GPS monitor.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday asked District Judge Otis D. Wright to reverse the order so Smirnov can be returned to custody.

[Update: Smirnov was re-arrested on Thursday morning while meeting with his lawyers at their offices in downtown Las Vegas. It came after prosecutors asked a judge in California, where the case originally was filed, to reconsider Smirnov’s custody status while he awaits trial. No hearing was held before he was arrested. A copy of the arrest warrant that Smirnov’s lawyers included as an exhibit in their request for the new hearing shows he was arrested on the same charges — making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record. His attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, said in a statement they want an immediate hearing on his detention and will again push for his release. A judge in Las Vegas gave prosecutors until Friday afternoon to respond to Smirnov’s motion for a new hearing.]

Therefore, Smirnov was arrested in Nevada on Feb. 22, just two days after having been freed pre-trial by Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts on condition of GPS monitoring and the surrender of his two passports.

“Despite Judge Albregts’s prior ruling, denial of the stay request, and Mr. Smirnov’s prior release from custody, on the morning of February 22, 2024, Mr. Smirnov was arrested for a second time – on the same charges and based on the same indictment set forth … while at the undersigned counsel’s law office for meetings with counsel,” his lawyers wrote in a court filing.

Why is the Department of Justice so intent on keeping their long-reliable source off the streets?

“The nature and circumstances of the offense, weight of the evidence, and the fact that Smirnov’s ties to the community are weak establish that Smirnov should be detained,” prosecutors said in court documents filed in the Central District of California cited in The Hill.

The DOJ also accused Smirnov of lying about his available assets, saying he has access to more than $6 million in liquid funds that would let him “live comfortably” overseas.

“The fact that Smirnov misrepresented his assets alone should cause Smirnov to be detained because it shows that, at the first opportunity, he did not provide true and complete information to Pretrial Services,” prosecutors wrote. “No condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the Smirnov as required.”

The DOJ argued that Smirnov, who also is an Israeli citizen, is a flight risk because he had plans to travel outside the U.S. to meet with “multiple foreign intelligence agencies” and also received information from Russian intelligence.

"Russia, Russia, Russia," to quote a frequent refrain from Trump speeches.

Observers have noted that the Very Russia Sequel has been getting much play from Democrats and their propaganda wing (aka the mainstream media) as the 2024 election season heats up.

Rep. Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has some sort of financial influence over former President Donald Trump.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, Pelosi asked “what does he have on Donald Trump that he’d have to constantly be catering to Putin?”

Psaki asked Pelosi what she thinks Putin has on Trump. Psaki had come to the conclusion that Trump refuses to criticize the Russian leader.

“I’m not sure what he has on him, but I think it’s probably financial,” Pelosi said.

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