FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that allegations bureau agents falsely labeled accurate information about Hunter Biden as disinformation were "deeply troubling."
At Thursday's hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, disclosed whistleblower allegations that FBI supervisory intelligence agent Brian Auten opened an assessment in August 2020 — and that was used by FBI headquarters to label accurate information about President Joe Biden's son as false.
Grassley said another whistleblower said Timothy Thibault, the FBI assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office, shut down a line of inquiry into Hunter Biden in October 2020 despite some of the details known to be true at the time.
"I want to be very careful not to interfere with ongoing personnel matters," Wray said when asked about the allegations by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. "I should say that when I read the letter that describes the kinds of things that you’re talking about, I found it deeply troubling."
The Washington Examiner reported that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz last month said Thibault, who investigated public corruption in Washington, D.C., may have violated the Hatch Act over his social media posts criticizing then-President Donald Trump and then-Attorney General Bill Barr in 2020.
Wray was asked whether Thibault was or is working on the Hunter Biden investigation.
"The investigation that you’re referring to … is being run out of our Baltimore office working with the Delaware U.S. attorney," Wray said.
"I will tell you that what you’re describing is not representative of the FBI that I see up close every day in this country, where I see patriots working their tails off with tremendous integrity and objectivity."
Auten, who had been referred by Wray for potential disciplinary action following the release of Horowitz's 2019 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse report, interviewed Igor Danchenko, the alleged main source for the debunked Steele dossier.
"Whistleblowers are patriots, and they also have to have lots of guts and most of them do," Grassley said. "According to whistleblowers, the FBI opened an investigation on the Trump campaign and its advisers. The opening memo for this Trump investigation is based in a substantial part on liberal news reporting. It’s also based on information derived from information from left-wing nonprofits."
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