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Ex-FBI official who shut down Hunter Biden investigation violated the Hatch Act: Report

By Mandy Donalds
|
January 27, 2024

The United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has ascertained that a former FBI official committed a breach of the Hatch Act due to his activities on social media.

Whistleblowers alleged this official exhibited a "pattern of active public partisanship" that potentially impacted investigations related to former President Trump and Hunter Biden, as Fox News reported.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had previously recommended an inquiry into Timothy Thibault, the ex-assistant special agent in charge at the FBI's Washington, D.C., Field Office, due to allegations of him engaging in unauthorized political activity online.

Whistleblowers' Allegations and Investigation Details

Whistleblowers came forward with claims that Thibault played a pivotal role in initiating an elector investigation into the Trump campaign, using information from a source aligned with leftist ideologies.

They accused him of bypassing standard procedures to launch comprehensive investigations.

Whistleblowers reported that Thibault's memo, which initiated a full-scale investigation and received approval from FBI Director Chris Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, allegedly minimized and obscured the political leanings of its sources.

Previous reports indicate that Thibault had shut down a line of inquiry into negative reports about Hunter Biden in October 2020.

During that period, Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) were probing Hunter Biden's business engagements, while Hunter Biden was also under a federal investigation that began in 2018.

Ultimately, the FBI removed Thibault from his assistant special agent position, and he subsequently resigned.

Office of Special Counsel's Findings and Implications

The Office of Special Counsel sent a letter to Grassley, which Fox News Digital obtained exclusively. The letter responded to Grassley's request for an investigation into Thibault's supposed prohibited political activities on social media.

The office clarified its exclusive jurisdiction over civil Hatch Act matters and concluded that Thibault had indeed violated the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act restricts the political activities of federal civilian executive branch employees, forbidding them from using their position to influence election outcomes, soliciting political contributions, and engaging in certain political activities while on duty or in federal facilities.

In Thibault's case, the OSC reviewed his social media posts on Twitter (now X), and LinkedIn. One significant instance was his retweet of a post from the Lincoln Project in July 2020, which the OSC identified as a partisan political group.

This action, according to the OSC, equated to modern-day leafletting, violating the Hatch Act's stipulations even though Thibault was on leave at the time.

The OSC warned Thibault that future violations while in a position covered by the Hatch Act could result in disciplinary action. Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the Hatch Act Unit in the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, signed the letter.

In a statement, Sen. Grassley emphasized the importance of federal law enforcement officials remaining unbiased in their duties. He stressed that the confirmation of Thibault's breach by the OSC demonstrates a failure to uphold these standards.

Grassley warned of the potential erosion of public trust in the FBI due to such biases and called for the bureau to restore trust through transparency and collaboration with congressional oversight.