GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley alleges widespread efforts within the FBI and Justice Department to downplay negative information about Hunter Biden

“Highly credible” whistleblowers have come forward to a Senate Republican, alleging a widespread effort within the FBI to downplay or discredit negative reports about President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, according to letters reviewed by CBS News.

“The information provided to my office involves concerns regarding the FBI’s receipt and use of derogatory information regarding Hunter Biden, and the FBI’s misrepresentation of acquired evidence as disinformation,” the GOP senator wrote. Chuck Grassley to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland. July 25. “The volume and consistency of these allegations supports their credibility and necessitates this letter.”

Grassley, the senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said whistleblowers alleged that legitimate streams of information and intelligence about the president’s son were labeled as likely misinformation or shut down prematurely ahead of the presidential election in 2020.

CBS News first reported in April that more than 150 financial transactions involving the global business affairs of Hunter or James Biden had been reported as concerning by US banks for further consideration. CBS News previously reported that the US attorney from Delaware is investigating potential tax evasion, money laundering and foreign influence peddling.

President Biden said he was confident his family had done the right thing and he was not involved in his son and brother’s business dealings.

A spokesperson for Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss declined to say whether he was aware of whistleblower claims that credible information about Hunter Biden had been labeled disinformation by the FBI and whether those claims had been considered in his investigation.

In the correspondence, Grassley cited a 2020 FBI intelligence assessment that was “used by a team at FBI Headquarters to falsely discredit negative information from Hunter Biden as disinformation.” He continued, “Based on the allegations, in at least one instance, verified and verifiable derogatory information about Hunter Biden has been falsely characterized as disinformation.”

In October 2020, a month before the election, “a channel of derogatory Hunter Biden reporting was shut down” by a senior FBI agent at the bureau’s field office in Washington. An earlier letter from Grassley identified the agent as Timothy Thibault.

“[T]he allegations provided to my office appear to indicate that there was a scheme in place among certain FBI officials to undermine derogatory information related to Hunter Biden by falsely suggesting that it was disinformation,” Grassley said.

He said federal law enforcement whistleblowers came to his office after a May 31 letter he wrote noted a “pattern of active public partisanship in his then-public content about social networks”, in reference to Thibault.

In that May 31 letter, Grassley also accused Thibault of probable violations of “[f]Federal Laws, Regulations, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Guidelines”.

“Whistleblowers have reported to me that while the FBI and Justice Department maintain policies dictating specific standards requiring substantial factual preaching to initiate an investigation, Thibault and other Justice Department employees and the FBI failed to comply with these requirements.”

The letter also named Justice Department official Richard Pilger, identified as the Director of the Election Crimes Branch within the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, who along with Thibault would have been ” deeply involved in the decisions to open and pursue this investigation”. “, an apparent reference to a recently opened investigation into the Trump campaign.

Grassley told Wray and Garland “the opening memo you approved” included media reports citing research from a “liberal nonprofit” when a full political investigation requires “a strengthened factual basis”.

Grassley continued, “In light of these allegations, I remain very concerned that the political biases of a select group of Justice Department and FBI officials have infected the usual Department of Justice process and procedure. Justice and the FBI to initiate and pursue highly publicized and politically charged investigations.”

In addition to requesting records from the FBI and the Justice Department by August 8, Grassley complained about the way the office and the department are run.

“Attorney General Garland and Director Wray, simply put, based on the allegations I have received from numerous whistleblowers, you have systemic and existential problems within your agencies,” Grassley wrote. “You have an obligation to the country to take these allegations seriously, to investigate immediately.”

The FBI said it received the letters but declined further comment.

Asked to comment on the letter, the Justice Department said it received the letter, declined to comment further, and did not refer CBS News to any attorney for Pilger.

Andres Triay and Robert Legare contributed to this report.

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