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One of the top officials at the FBI’s Washington Field Office confirms he is out at the bureau amid allegations that he interfered and improperly blocked a probe into Hunter Biden ahead of the 2020 election.
Timothy Thibault’s attorneys at the firm Morrison & Foerster released a statement on behalf of their client on Tuesday evening. The attorneys claimed that Thibault freely resigned his position at the bureau and denied reports that the former assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office had been forced out, or that he was escorted out of office by FBI agents.
“Mr. Thibault was not fired, not forced to retire, and not asked to retire. On his last day, as part of his processing, Mr. Thibault turned in his security badge and walked with two long-time special agent friends through the field office to finish processing his paperwork. He walked out of the building by himself,” a statement from Thibault’s attorneys and posted online by CBS News correspondent Catherine Herridge said.
MEDIA STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF TIMOTHY R. THIBAULT
For Immediate Release⁰[Timothy R. Thibault has retained the pro bono services of Morrison & Foerster LLP.] The following statement may be used, in whole or part, + attributed to Mr. Thibault’s counsel at Morrison & Foerster LLP pic.twitter.com/xpWA6hxguJ
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) August 31, 2022
Thibault came under scrutiny after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, revealed a number of partisan social media posts in May that Thibault made to his accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn. The posts targeted former President Donald Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr. Grassley said the posts potentially ran afoul of federal law and department policy on partisan behavior.
“There have been allegations that his social media posts violated the Hatch Act, and those allegations are being investigated by the Office of Special Counsel. Mr. Thibault is cooperating with that investigation, urges the office to complete its review, and expects to be fully exonerated,” the statement said.
In July, Grassley further revealed, based on FBI whistleblower accounts, allegations that Thibault “removed or watered-down” references to “left-wing entities” that were the source of much of the foundation of a request to open an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign.
Around the same time, Thibault also suppressed a probe into Hunter Biden, whistleblowers who spoke to Grassley’s office alleged. Thibault ordered an avenue of investigation into Biden “closed without providing a valid reason as required by FBI guidelines.” Further, Thibault “attempted to improperly mark the matter in FBI systems so that it could not be opened in the future.”
Thibault denied the allegations, claiming that he had nothing to do with any decision “related to any laptop,” referencing Biden’s laptop obtained by the FBI in 2019 from the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop.
“Mr. Thibault welcomes any investigation of these false allegations, regardless of his retirement. He firmly believes that any investigation will conclude that his supervision, leadership and decision making were not impacted by political bias or partisanship of any kind,” the statement said. “Thibault was not involved in any decision related to any laptop that may be at issue in that investigation, and he did not seek to close the investigation.”
After Thibault’s exit from the bureau was first reported on Monday, Grassley said in a statement that Thibault’s “blatant partisanship undermined the work and reputation of the FBI.”
“This type of bias in high-profile investigations casts a shadow over all of the bureau’s work that he was involved in, which ranged from opening an investigation into Trump based on liberal news articles to shutting down investigative activity into Hunter Biden that was based on verified information,” Grassley added.