Kennedy grilled Wray on Thibault’s alleged partisan actions on social media over the past few years, such as “liking” a Washington Post article titled “William Barr has gone rogue” and tweeting at Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) That her father — former Vice President Dick Cheney — was a “disgrace.” Kennedy also mentioned Thibault’s retweet of a Lincoln Project Post saying that “Donald Trump is a psychologically broken, embittered and deeply unhappy man”.
Kennedy then pressed Wray about allegations that Thibault — who Kennedy said worked on both the Trump-Russia ties probe and the ongoing Hunter Biden investigation — had “covered up derogatory information. on Mr. Biden while working at the FBI”.
Wray gave similar responses to Kennedy’s questions about social media posts and hiding information, saying he had seen ‘descriptions to that effect’ but wanted to ‘be careful’ not to interfere. with ongoing personnel issues. But he admitted finding the allegations about the social media posts “disturbing”.
“I have to say that when I read the letter that describes the kinds of things you are talking about, I found it deeply disturbing,” he told Kennedy.
President of the Senate Judiciary Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) first sounded the alarm about Thibault’s alleged partisan actions in May, demanding that the Justice Department and the FBI investigate whether the agent violated department guidelines with his posts on social networks. Grassley sent a second letter to the Justice Department and the FBI in late July saying he had received “highly credible” whistleblower accounts alleging Thibault downplayed or discredited negative information obtained about Joe’s son. Biden in the 2020 election.
Wray Thursday did not definitively confirm or deny the allegations against Thibault and appeared to be trying to preserve his ability to act as an impartial decision maker on possible disciplinary action against the agent. However, the FBI Director pointed out that the actions Kennedy described were “not representative of the FBI”.
“I’m a big believer, and I’ve communicated constantly since I started as director, that our people need to make sure they’re not just doing the right thing, they’re doing it the right way. and that they avoid even the appearance of bias or lack of objectivity,” Wray said.
Kennedy said he agreed with Wray’s statement that the majority of FBI employees have “tremendous integrity and objectivity,” but stressed that the situation with Thibault only hurts the image of the FBI. FBI and should be discussed with the public.
“You kill yourself with that stuff,” Kennedy said. “And this investigation must be completed on this gentleman and the results must be reported to the American people.”
Wray seemed to raise doubts that Thibault had been working on Hunter Biden-related issues lately. The FBI chief said the investigation, which would focus on tax issues and potential foreign influence related to Hunter Biden’s business ties, is being led by the Bureau’s Baltimore field office, which handles Delaware-related matters. .
The Biden administration has allowed Trump’s appointee as U.S. attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, to stay to complete the investigation into the president’s son.
Hunter Biden, in a December 2020 statement, denied any wrongdoing in his tax affairs. Biden’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.
“I take this matter very seriously, but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I have conducted my affairs in a lawful and proper manner, including with the assistance of professional tax advisers.” he declared.
Earlier in the hearing, Wray seemed to indirectly address claims that during the 2020 election season the FBI helped downplay or suppress information about Hunter Biden’s business ties by calling it Russian disinformation.
The FBI director suggested that it was not his agency’s job in such situations to try to validate or verify the allegations, but only to alert American officials, companies or individuals that foreign powers try to exploit the situation.
“Sometimes it gets lost in a lot of public comments. We don’t investigate whether the information we see is true or false,” Wray said. “Our goal in the space of malevolent foreign influence is whether or not there is a foreign adversary pushing the information.”