By Frank Fang
Former FBI agent Timothy Thibault has refused to cooperate with a Republican House probe into allegations of abuse and misconduct within his agency, particularly surrounding the Hunter Biden investigation.
Thibault, who left the FBI in August, is being accused by GOP senators of having a political bias against former President Donald Trump and slow-walking the agency’s investigation into Hunter Biden in 2020. In late September, three Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Thibault, demanding the former agent submit himself to a transcribed interview, saying that his testimony was necessary for their oversight of the Justice Department and the FBI.
“Whistleblowers have come to Congress alleging that you were part of a scheme to undermine and discredit allegations of criminal wrongdoing by members of the Biden family. Accordingly, we believe that you possess information relating to our investigation and we request your assistance with our inquiry,” the September letter says.
On Oct. 15, the three lawmakers—Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the committee’s ranking Republican member; Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.); and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.)—announced that Thibault had rejected their request and that they had sent a new letter to Thibault one day earlier.
In the new letter, the lawmakers explained that Thibault’s refusal to testify was “baseless” and their interview request “remains outstanding.”
“Your baseless assertion that ‘sensitive law enforcement information and/or pending investigations’ prevents your cooperation with our inquiry ignores the importance of congressional oversight as well as the Committee’s past practice in examining misconduct at the FBI,” the three lawmakers wrote, quoting a letter from Thibault’s attorney.
They added, “There is no rationale or legal basis for your refusal to cooperate with our inquiry for the reasons articulated in your attorney’s October 7 letter.”
The lawmakers also suggested that Thibault might have contradicted his own public statement in August. That month, Thibault’s attorney released a statement, saying that their client “welcomes any investigation” and “any investigation will conclude that his supervision, leadership, and decision making were not impacted by political bias or partisanship of any kind.”
Thibault also rejected the lawmakers’ request to preserve documents in his possession.
“Your attorney asserts that you cannot comply with our document-preservation notice because you have left federal service,” the letter says. “Notably, this assertion ignores that our notice includes both official and personal records that may be responsive to the topics we are investigating.”
The lawmakers requested that Thibault’s attorney provides assurance that his client preserves any personal records or copies of official records in his possession.
“If you posses no personal records about the topics addressed in our letters to you, or any copies of official records, in your personal possession, we ask that your attorney make such a representation to us on your behalf,” the letter says.
The lawmakers ended their letter with a vow that they will not stop seeking answers from Thibault.
“Your testimony is necessary for our oversight, and you can be assured that Committee Republicans will continue to pursue this matter into the 118th Congress,” the letter says.
The 118th Congress starts on Jan. 3, 2023, with Republicans optimistic about their chances of taking back the House following the midterm elections.
Thibault’s attorney Charles Duross, in a statement to the New York Post, said his client had “continuing obligations related to his prior work, which impacts his ability to voluntarily provide such information,” and it “is not the case that our client is unwilling to cooperate.”
Before leaving the FBI, Thibault was an assistant special agent in charge at the bureau’s Washington Field Office.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaking at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in early August, said that allegations against Thibault were “deeply troubling.”