An FBI agent’s retirement last Friday was unrelated to politicized comments he made on social media or his alleged link to the Hunter Biden investigation, according to a statement from his attorney.
Assistant Special Agent responsible Timothy R. Thibault “voluntarily” retired from the FBI on Aug. 26 after 30 years of service, his public defender said, and he “was not fired, not forced to retire, and not asked to to retire.”
“Over the past few months, and particularly the past 24 hours,” said the unnamed attorney for the firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, “there have been a number of false media stories and allegations on social media about our client.”
In May, Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland describing Thibault’s social media posts and likes that appeared to be critical of former President Donald Trump, former attorney general. General William Barr and Justice Department decision-making in the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn cases. Grassley suggested that Thibault may have violated the Hatch Act, which restricts the political activity of officials.
When asked during a congressional committee testimony, Wray called the types of messages Grassley highlighted “deeply disturbing.”
In July, Grassley sent another letter to Wray and Garland claiming that Thibault closed an investigation into Hunter Biden’s laptop in October 2020 after the New York Post published a story on the computer. Thibault believed the laptop could be part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
The attorney’s statement said Thibault was not involved in the search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, “nor in its planning or execution,” and did not oversee the Hunter investigation. Biden, “which, as confirmed by the FBI director on August 4, 2022, is being handled by the Baltimore Field Office. Thibault worked in the field office in Washington, DC. “In particular,” the statement said, “Mr. Thibault was not involved in any decisions regarding a laptop that may be at stake in that investigation, and he has not attempted to close the investigation.”
US officials told NBC News that an assistant special agent in charge would not have the authority to open or close an investigation involving the son of a presidential candidate. At the time, Attorney General Barr had also said in a memo that politically sensitive investigations could not move forward without his approval ahead of the 2020 election. The Hunter Biden investigation is still ongoing.
Thibault’s attorney’s statement stated that the agent was eligible for retirement and told his superiors about a month ago that he intended to leave, “after more than 30 years of dedication to protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution of the United States in an impartial manner.” The lawyer noted that Thibault had led investigations into corruption by members of both political parties for nearly two decades, “such as investigations leading to the convictions of [Democratic] Congressmen William Jefferson and Jesse Jackson, Jr.”
Thibault is cooperating with the Office of Special Counsel’s investigation into possible violations of the Hatch Act, his attorney said, and “expects to be fully acquitted. He also welcomes inquiries into whether he has taken certain actions for partisan reasons. “He firmly believes that any investigation will conclude that his oversight, leadership and decision-making were not influenced by political bias or bias of any kind,” his lawyer said. “He is confident that all of his decisions were consistent with the FBI’s highest standards of ethics and integrity.”
Commenting on the attorney’s statement, Grassley said: “Mr. Thibault’s statement does not address allegations of whistleblowers making specific and credible allegations of political bias and his failure to adhere to Department guidelines and standards and raised the FBI. .. “Political bias has no place with the FBI. We need accountability, that’s why Congress must continue to investigate and the Inspector General must conduct full investigations, as I have requested.”