FBI Official Accused of Shutting Down Hunter Biden Probe Was ‘Running Point’ on Key Witness

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September 2, 2022

A former FBI official who allegedly shut down part of the investigation into Hunter Biden was "running point" in the bureau’s dealings with a key witness in the probe, according to sources directly familiar with the matter.

The witness, Tony Bobulinski, now has concerns that the former official, Timothy Thibault, helped bury information about his dealings with the Biden family that he gave the FBI, sources told the Washington Free Beacon. Thibault retired from the FBI last week amid allegations from whistleblowers that he shut down an investigation into an avenue of "derogatory" information about Hunter Biden in October 2020. Senate Republicans began scrutinizing Thibault earlier this year over anti-Trump rhetoric he posted on social media.

It had been unclear what role Thibault played in the Biden investigation, which began in 2018. But his oversight of Bobulinski means he oversaw one of the most significant witnesses to come forward with information about the Bidens’ business links to China. The FBI interviewed Bobulinski for five hours on Oct. 23, 2020, after Bobulinski publicly disputed Joe Biden’s claim to have never discussed business with his son. Bobulinski said he met with Hunter and Joe Biden in May 2017 to discuss a multimillion-dollar deal with CEFC China Energy, a Chinese energy conglomerate with ties to Chinese military intelligence. The California-based businessman also said Joe Biden is "the big guy" referenced in cryptic emails discussing equity payments from their business deals.

"In my hour-long meeting with Joe Biden we discussed Biden family business dealings with the Chinese, with which he was plainly familiar," Bobulinski said at a press conference before his FBI interview. Text messages show Bobulinski and Hunter Biden arranging a meeting with Joe Biden at the Beverly Hills Hilton. Emails from Biden’s abandoned laptop show extensive discussions about CEFC China Energy.

Hunter Biden announced in December 2020 that the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware was investigating his taxes, though other reports say prosecutors were scrutinizing Biden’s business dealings in China and Ukraine. CNN reported last month that the probe has reached a "critical juncture," with prosecutors still weighing possible criminal charges.

The New York Post reported earlier this year that a grand jury witness was asked to identify "the big guy" referenced in the emails sent to Biden and Bobulinski. Bobulinski, however, has not been contacted by the U.S. attorney or called before the grand jury, sources told the Free Beacon. According to the sources, Bobulinski’s attorneys had multiple interactions with Thibault after Bobulinski’s FBI interview. They said Thibault told Bobulinski’s lawyers the FBI would reach out if additional information was needed, but that the bureau has not made contact with Bobulinski since then.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) raised concerns about Thibault earlier this year over social media posts in which the FBI official attacked Trump as a "psychologically broken, embittered, and deeply unhappy man." According to the Republicans, whistleblowers said Thibault "ordered" the closure of an investigation into "derogatory" reporting about Hunter Biden. The whistleblowers said Thibault improperly marked the information in the FBI’s internal systems in a way that the matter could not be reopened in the future.

FBI director Christopher Wray said at a Senate hearing this month that the allegations against Thibault were "troubling." Thibault’s attorneys denied in a statement to the Free Beacon that he was fired or forced to resign from the FBI. They claimed Thibault "did not supervise" the Hunter Biden probe and "did not seek to close the investigation," though they declined to address questions about Bobulinski.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, said Congress "must shine a bright light on the FBI" in the wake of the Thibault allegations.

"What Mr. Thibault knows about the FBI’s significant misconduct and running of interference for the Biden family won’t stay hidden just because he’s no longer with the bureau," Issa told the Free Beacon.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware and the FBI declined comment.