BUCK: This BuzzFeed story. ‘Cause we’re talking about the January 6th “insurrection” —
BUCK: — and there was this incident of the alleged can keep plot against governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan who is among, complete separate from this plot, one of the most extreme lockdown governors.
BUCK: We have been deeply critical of her all along here. She’s the one who has a pillow of Fauci that she sets up so when she does her MSNBC hits, you can see her. So this is something we may dive into some more in this piece — and I have to credit this. There is occasional journalism that happens at places like the New York Times.
BUCK: BuzzFeed. It is not all cat blog. There are people who do actual reporting sometimes there. But this is fascinating because we heard all about this, and there was a huge media frenzy around this Trump supporter, right-wing plot to kidnap and perhaps even horrifically do harm to Governor Whitmer of Michigan, and now a lot of it has fallen apart.
First of all, one of the main FBI agents involved in it has been arrested for felony domestic abuse. So that’s not a thing that is gonna come up in a court of law now when they bring this prosecution, ’cause they’ll just attack the credibility of some of these agents. But beyond that, this is from the BuzzFeed piece.
“The government has documented at least 12 confidential informants who assisted the sprawling investigation. The trove of evidence they helped gather provides an unprecedented view … laying out in often stunning detail the ways that anti-government groups network with each other …” But “[a]n examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported.
“Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception.” Clay, entrapment is a very hard case to make and win.
BUCK: It’s often the last-ditch effort that a defense attorney has. When you have 12 informants? I mean, how many people were involved in the plot, by the way? You have 12 informants involved from inception? It starts to not pass the smell test for some folks.
CLAY: My criminal law professor used to say, “What can we get ’em with? We got nothin’. We’ll get ’em with conspiracy.” It’s kind of a funny way to explain what exactly sometimes a conspiracy charge, a conspiracy to commit a crime was, as opposed to a tangible act to be undertaken, which then can make it an attempt, for those of you out there who are curious about a little bit of criminal law background.
But, yes, to me, entrapment, as you said, Buck, is always a very difficult case to make in terms of a defense. But it’s starting to look like many of these cases — and candidly, this is me speaking as a defense attorney. In the same way that some of these jihadist cases were brought to bear where there were all these different informants potentially trying to encourage people to commit crimes that they otherwise would have had no interest in committing or ability to commit.
It’s sounding like that might be the case with this Michigan case, and I always try to think about this from a legal perspective and apply the same standards no matter what the charges are. And this is looking like, based on the way this was covered, it is wildly exaggerated in terms of how legitimate this plot to kidnap her and do harm to her truly was.
BUCK: I worked on some counterterrorism cases at the intel division, intelligence division of the NYPD involving confidential informants, involving undercovers as well, undercover officers. And there always is this concern with. You can’t be calling somebody 10 times a minute, say, “Hey, can I bring you the guns for the thing that I told you we should do?”
CLAY: (laughs) Right.
BUCK: “Hey, I bought us explosives. Come with me. Just give me a ride to the place.” There are limits that you have to be aware of, and look, BuzzFeed’s examining this. It’s looking like — and, of course why? People have a lot of mistrust of the FBI right now. This was viewed as a precursor to January 6 by the left, this Whitmer plot. They’re tied together in this piece.