by Julie Kelly
It could be the whopper of the year.
“I can tell you that in every case we follow the facts and the evidence and the law and we do so without regard to politics or ideology,” Matthew Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, solemnly assured the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing last week.
Olsen was responding to a question by U.S. Representative Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) about the decision to arrest several men for supposedly conspiring to abduct and assassinate Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. “The alleged Whitmer plot was announced on October 7, 2020 within a month of the U.S. presidential election,” Bishop asked Olsen. “How come that [was the] timing for the FBI’s announcement of this plot?”
Olsen refused to explain why, opting instead to commit borderline perjury by insisting the Justice Department turns a blind eye to politics—all evidence accumulated over the past six years to the contrary.
But now that two men have been acquitted after defense attorneys convinced a Michigan jury in April that the FBI entrapped their clients—the jury deadlocked on two other defendants who face a new trial next week—Bishop’s question demands an answer. And it won’t come from a dangerously-weaponized Justice Department focused almost entirely on prosecuting Americans who protested Joe Biden’s election on January 6, 2021 and with its sights now trained on indicting Donald Trump.
Despite Olsen’s stonewalling, the answer to Bishop’s question is in plain sight. Just as it did with phony claims of Russian election collusion in 2016, the FBI fabricated a scandal in 2020 aimed at sabotaging Trump right before a national election. FBI authorities didn’t thwart a kidnapping plot; the agency created one while simultaneously attempting to duplicate the effort in Virginia against Governor Ralph Northam. (Trump heavily criticized both Democratic leaders for sustained lockdown policies, including his April 2020 tweets to “Liberate Michigan!” and “Liberate Virginia!”)
No kidnapping plan existed outside the minds of multiple FBI agents and informants responsible for conceiving and executing these operations with approval from FBI headquarters in Washington. In fact, the men criminally charged did not even know each other before the FBI began stitching the group together in March 2020.
The Whitmer kidnapping hoax is another flagrant instance of the FBI interfering in a presidential election. Whitmer and Joe Biden both made the most of the politically fortuitous news, blaming Trump for inspiring the alleged kidnappers.
“There is a throughline from President Trump’s dog whistles and tolerance of hate, vengeance, and lawlessness to plots such as this one,” Biden said on October 8, 2020 in reaction to the arrests. At a campaign stop the following week in Michigan, Biden had a full-blown tantrum over the plot. “All President Trump does is fan the flames of hatred and division in this country!” Biden ranted. “What the hell’s the matter with this guy?”
Whitmer played the role of victim to a sympathetic media. Throughout October 2020, Whitmer made the rounds on cable and Sunday news programs to accuse Trump of motivating domestic terrorists to “kidnap, put me on trial, and execute me.” (Whitmer, in fact, knew of the plot and was never in any danger.)
Trump and his team spent days in the final stretch of the campaign denying the unfounded allegations; the president walked out of an interview with “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl after she forced the issue in late October.
Some data suggests the media onslaught may have succeeded. Polls showed a precipitous drop for Trump in Michigan after mid-October as Michiganders, and millions of Americans, were voting early for president. Trump will never know how many votes he lost as a result of the damaging headlines but it’s unrealistic to believe the extensive negative coverage had zero impact.
And while the FBI was cooking up the Whitmer and Northam kidnapping hoaxes in 2020, the agency was cooking the books on a real scandal: the Biden family’s overseas grift.
According to whistleblowers, the FBI moved to quash any investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial activities including his ties to Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that paid Hunter $83,3000 per month between 2014 and 2019, purportedly for serving on its board.
“In August of 2020, FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten opened an assessment, which was used by a team of agents at FBI headquarters to improperly discredit and falsely claim that derogatory information about Biden’s activities was disinformation, causing investigative activity and sourcing to be shut down,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) disclosed last week.
FBI officials subsequently briefed Grassley and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to warn that any information related to a Senate investigation was the product of a “foreign disinformation” campaign against the Bidens; news of the briefing was leaked to the Washington Post on August 5, 2020. Auten, a key FBI figure in the Russia collusion hoax, then buried any future potential probe by placing “their assessment findings in a restricted access subfolder, effectively flagging sources and derogatory evidence related to Hunter Biden as disinformation.”
That opened the door for Team Biden, Democrats, and the media to dismiss any reporting on Hunter Biden as more election-year chicanery by the Kremlin. Reports published in the New York Post shortly before Election Day were quickly designated “Russian disinformation” by top former intelligence officials including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, two authors of the Russian collusion hoax. The trail of incriminating emails found on the laptop, the chiefs claimed in an October 19, 2020 letter, “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
This is the sort of internal warfare that takes down nations or at least tightens the grip of the ruling regime until it successfully strangles any and all political opposition.
Republicans now have two legitimate examples of how the FBI not only buried evidence of potentially serious crimes committed by Joe Biden’s family—and perhaps the candidate himself—to protect the Biden/Harris ticket in 2020 but also have evidence of how the agency fabricated other crimes to damage Donald Trump. The latter is not without a human toll; Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris, the men found not guilty, spent 18 months in jail despite their innocence and now struggle to put their lives back together. Adam Fox and Barry Croft, Jr. have been in jail since October 2020 and will withstand another trial beginning August 9. It’s very likely they’ll either be acquitted or face another hung jury.
It does not appear that congressional Republicans have any plan to deal with this subversive agency aside from a flurry of sternly worded letters and heated television interviews—the same failed strategy the GOP pursued after 2016, which only emboldened the FBI to again play politics in the 2020 election. Some Republican leaders miraculously—infuriatingly?—hold unjustified trust in FBI Director Christopher Wray, who hasn’t faced a single question about his foreknowledge and involvement in the Whitmer caper.
“I would expect Wray to come up with some concrete program where he’s gonna be able to tell the 22 members of this committee what he’s going to do to take political bias out of the investigations that the FBI is doing,” Grassley said during a Fox News interview on Sunday. (Wray is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary committee this Thursday.)
But the time for Wray to clean up the FBI’s act is long gone. And the problem isn’t just a matter of leadership; as both the Whitmer hoax and the ongoing military-style roundup of January 6 protesters show, the rot at the FBI extends to each of the agency’s 56 field offices. Combined with other scandals, not the least of which is the FBI’s delayed investigation into serial molester Larry Nasser, it’s obvious the FBI is not salvageable.
Republicans in the House and Senate must develop a strategy to dismantle the FBI and punish its most egregious offenders if the GOP takes control next year. A free country cannot exist much longer under control of a Praetorian Guard that the opposition party is too afraid to confront. The evidence is amassed and verified—the only unknown is what Republicans will do next.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right and Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of the “Happy Hour Podcast with Julie and Liz.” She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Photo “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “FBI Agent” by Shinsuke Ikegame. CC BY 2.0.