Indictment of Informant Undercuts G.O.P.’s Impeachment Drive

The indictment of a former F.B.I. informant on charges of making up claims that President Biden and his son sought bribes from a Ukrainian energy company is the latest blow to the effort by House Republicans to assemble a credible impeachment case against the president.

Republicans had hailed the informant, Alexander Smirnov, as “credible” and “most respected.” They asserted that he had 17 recordings to back up his story that Mr. Biden and his son Hunter had each accepted bribes of $5 million from Burisma, the Ukrainian firm that had paid Hunter Biden as much as $1 million a year for serving on its board.

But the tapes never materialized, and on Thursday, the Justice Department announced that it had charged Mr. Smirnov with making it all up.

That left Democrats calling for the immediate halt of the inquiry, and Republicans scrambling to find something else to use against the president.

“He is lying and it should be dropped and it’s just been an outrageous effort from the beginning,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House on Friday.

Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the indictment exposed the evidence being cited by Republicans as false. “I hope it will be the final chapter of this ludicrous wild goose chase,” Mr. Raskin said.

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