- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is demanding FBI Director Christopher A. Wray provide Congress with an organizational chart for the bureau’s Washington field office, saying the information is necessary to rectify “a deeply-rooted political infection” that has influenced investigations into Hunter Biden and former President Donald Trump.

In a letter released Thursday, the Iowa Republican said the organizational chart will help lawmakers better understand who is responsible for various units and squads within the office, including those overseeing political investigations.

The FBI’s Washington office is overseeing the probe into allegations Mr. Trump improperly took confidential documents to his Palm Beach, Florida, estate instead of sending them to the National Archives and Record Administration.

It also began the Hunter Biden probe, but that investigation is currently conducted out of the bureau’s Baltimore field office.

“The FBI approved investigative activity into Trump based in substantial part on liberal news articles and information derived from a liberal non-profit, yet shut down investigative activity and sources, which included verified and verifiable information related to Hunter Biden. The FBI has not refuted these serious allegations,” Mr. Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in the Aug. 17 letter. “The consistent failure to respond to Congress continues to erode trust in the FBI.”

The “liberal news articles” Mr. Grassley referred to are likely a reference to American Oversight, a left-leaning government watchdog group whose articles on Mr. Trump’s alleged plot to overturn the 2020 election results through fake electors are widely believed to have spurred one of the FBI‘s probes into the former president.

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on Mr. Grassley’s letter, only confirming that it was received.

A Rasmussen poll released Thursday found that public trust in the FBI has fallen to its lowest level in decades since it raided Mr. Trump’s residence, with 53% of likely voters — including 37% of Democrats —  saying they view it as President Biden‘s “personal Gestapo.”

That is a marked increase from 46% in December. 

The poll also found that 44% of voters said they trust the FBI less since more than 30 armed agents swarmed Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, rummaging through his office and Melania Trump’s clothes closet, seizing classified documents.  

Only 29% of respondents said they trust the bureau more because of the Trump raid and 23% said it did not make a difference it did not make a difference.

Mr. Wray faced withering questions this month from Republican lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee about whether political bias has seeped into FBI Investigations.

That testimony came roughly a week before the FBI raided Mr. Trump’s residence and offices at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, seizing classified documents and other materials. The FBI’s unusual search of a former president’s residence further inflamed GOP allegations of leftist political partisanship in its investigations.

What’s more, whistleblowers within the FBI recently revealed that top officials sought to undermine the Hunter Biden criminal investigation by labeling verified evidence against the president’s son as “disinformation.”

Hunter Biden has not been charged with wrongdoing, but investigators are looking into whether he violated federal gun and tax laws. He is also under federal scrutiny for suspicion of money laundering and possible violations of foreign lobbying tied to his overseas business dealings.

Timothy Thibault, an assistant special agent in charge and a top official in the Washington field office, has come under scrutiny for anti-Trump social media posts. The posts occurred while he and others were leading the FBI’s probe into Hunter Biden while his father, President Biden, was running for the White House.

In February and September 2020, Mr. Thibault liked separate Washington Post opinion pieces that repeatedly criticized Attorney General William Barr. The September 2020 op-ed assailed Mr. Barr’s handling of the cases against Trump associates Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.

Mr. Thibault also retweeted a post by the anti-Trump Lincoln Project that called Mr. Trump “a psychologically broken, embittered and deeply unhappy man.”

During his Senate testimony this month, Mr. Wray dodged questions about Mr. Thibault and his social media posts because they are “ongoing personnel matters.”

He added that he emphasizes to employees the need to avoid the appearance of bias or lack of objectivity, but declined to say if Mr. Thibault is an active FBI employee or involved in the Hunter Biden investigation.

In his letter Thursday, Mr. Grassley said the FBI’s partisanship extends beyond Mr. Thibault’s social media posts.

“As you are aware, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Tim Thibault is not the only politically biased FBI agent at the Washington Field Office,” Mr. Grassley wrote.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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