Prior to the FBI’s raid Monday on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, a string of whistleblower reports alleged that senior officials at the FBI exhibited a pattern of bias in their handling of politically sensitive investigations and also reclassified cases without justification to substantiate the White House’s public narratives on crime and extremism.
Beginning in late May, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley called attention to then-Washington Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault over political bias concerns. Thibault expressed support for several “highly partisan” opinion articles on LinkedIn and made a series of politically charged social media posts, according to Grassley, who referred Thibault to the Office of Special Counsel to address the federal agent’s potential violations of the Hatch Act, which bars government officials from partisan political activity.
Concerns surrounding Thibault escalated in July, as whistleblowers came forward claiming Thibault’s partisan persuasion directly impacted his work at the bureau. While seeking approval from FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland to open an investigation into Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, Thibault withheld from them that his predicating evidence was based in “substantial part” on information from a “left-aligned organization,” according to Grassley’s office.
In a separate instance, whistleblowers claim Thibault worked to falsely discredit evidence against President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and prevent the bureau from investigating him.
“Whistleblowers have told my office that the FBI maintains many sources that have provided extensive information on Hunter Biden,” Grassley said in August. “That information allegedly involves potential criminal activity such as money laundering. According to allegations, the underlying information was verified and verifiable. However, instead of green-lighting investigative activity, the FBI shut it down.”
Grassley also pointed to Robert Pilger of the Election Crimes Branch, who he alleges was of vital aid to Thibault in his efforts to open the investigation into Trump. Former Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, the Iowa Republican noted, testified that “Pilger’s conduct frustrated the department’s ability to properly operate the Election Crimes Branch.”
Thibault, Grassley confirmed, was reassigned to an unspecified posting prior to the bureau securing a warrant to raid Trump’s estate. Sources briefed on the raid confirmed to Just the News that the agents came from the Washington Field Office, in which Thibault was serving until just days prior.
In late July, whistleblower reports emerged that bureau supervisors were pressuring agents to reclassify cases under the label of “domestic violent extremism” (DVE) without substantive justification in order to support White House narratives.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Wednesday outlined the issue in a letter to former Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division and Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch Jill Sanborn seeking her testimony.
Citing remarks from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the pair noted that the Biden administration has ranked domestic violent extremism as the “greatest threat” to the United States. Whistleblower claims allege the FBI’s top brass has worked to pad the number of DVE cases to support that claim.
“Whistleblower disclosures made by multiple FBI employees from different field offices suggest that FBI agents are bolstering the number of cases of DVEs to satisfy their supervisors,” Jordan and Johnson wrote. “For example, one whistleblower explained that because agents are not finding enough DVE cases, they are encouraged and incentivized to reclassify cases as DVE cases even though there is minimal, circumstantial evidence to support the reclassification.
One of the senior officials allegedly applying improper pressure to manipulate data to support ideologically predetermined conclusions, the lawmakers notified Sanborn, was Sanborn herself.
“Another whistleblower stated that a field office Counterterrorism Assistant Special Agent in Charge and the FBI’s then Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division pressured agents to move cases into the DVE category to hit self-created performance metrics,” they wrote.
Sanborn is no longer with the FBI and is now an employee of Roku, Inc.
The FBI declined to comment on reported whistleblower allegations against Thibault and Sanborn. The bureau sent this statement on DVEs:
“The threat posed by domestic violence extremists is persistent, evolving, and deadly. The FBI’s authority to investigate a case as domestic terrorism requires the existence of a potential criminal federal violation, the unlawful use or threat of force or violence, and ideological motivation. The motivation behind threats or acts of force or violence in violation of federal criminal law is not always readily apparent, but is often discovered during the course of an investigation. If the FBI obtains evidence that someone was motivated by violent extremist ideology of any type, a case classification may be changed. In other cases, an investigation may indicate that an ideological motivation was not involved in a criminal act. In either case, the FBI will follow the facts as they develop, and classify our investigations accordingly and appropriately. The FBI’s goal is to detect and stop terrorist attacks. At the same time, we are committed to upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans and will never open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”