FBI Official’s Anti-Trump Post Violated Federal Law: Watchdog

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 28, 2024 - 09:20 PM

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The former FBI official who whistleblowers say shut down an investigation into President Joe Biden’s son violated federal law with a social media post denigrating former President Donald Trump, a watchdog has found.

Timothy Thibault “engaged in modern-day leafletting on social media,” the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found after reviewing Mr. Thibault’s posts.

Mr. Thibault’s social media activity included sharing in 2020 a post from the anti-Trump political action committee Lincoln Project that itself included an article with the title, “Donald Trump is a Broken Man.”

That violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty. The law also imposes further restrictions on employees of some agencies, such as the FBI, such as prohibiting activity “in concert” with partisan political groups like the Lincoln Project.

“Although Mr. Thibault was on leave when he retweeted this message, the Hatch Act’s prohibition against acting in concert with a partisan political group applies to further restricted employees at all times, even when they are off duty and away from work,” the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said in a Jan. 19 letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that was reviewed by The Epoch Times. “Accordingly, because Mr. Thibault shared a message from a partisan political group on Twitter, OSC has concluded that he acted in concert with a partisan political group, in violation of the Hatch Act.”

The review of Mr. Thibault’s activity came at the request of Mr. Grassley.

Among Mr. Thibault’s other posts, while with the FBI, was a LinkedIn post of a Washington Post opinion piece that stated in part that the Trump administration had abused the justice system. He also told then-Rep Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) that her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, “was a disgrace.”

“The American people deserve to have confidence that the officials entrusted to lead the top echelon of our federal law enforcement agencies are not letting political bias infect their work. These federal employees should not blur their official business with their political viewpoints,” Mr. Grassley told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

“The Office of Special Counsel confirmed that former FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault failed to meet that standard. I’ve warned that this sort of political bias will erode public confidence in the FBI. It’s up to the bureau to restore that trust through transparency and cooperation with congressional oversight,” he added.

The FBI and Mr. Thibault did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Thibault’s lawyers said previously that he did not think he violated the Hatch Act with his social media posts.

Mr. Thibault left the FBI in 2022. His lawyers said at the time that he retired.

Violations of the Hatch Act can result in removal from federal employment, a suspension, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

The OSC said it warned Mr. Thibault that if in the future he violates the Hatch Act while in a position covered by the act, “OSC would consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law that could result in disciplinary action.”

Mr. Thibault was an assistant special agent in charge at the FBI’s Washington Field Office when the FBI received derogatory information about Hunter Biden, the son of President Biden. The information included details of alleged criminal financial activity. Mr. Thibault ordered the matter closed without providing a valid reason, whistleblowers have informed Congress.

Mr. Thibault “was not involved in any decisions related to any laptop that may be at issue in that investigation, and he did not seek to close the investigation,” his lawyers have said.

Mr. Grassley noted in a speech on the Senate floor that the lawyers did not directly address the whistleblower accusations.

Mr. Biden has since been charged with tax fraud in California and gun crimes in Delaware. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.