Fmr. FBI Official: Trump Should Be Included in Gov. Whitmer’s Kidnapping Investigation

Fmr. FBI Official: Trump Should Be Included in Gov. Whitmer’s Kidnapping Investigation


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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The role of Donald Trump’s divisive and hateful invective in the shocking plot uncovered this week to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is not mere political posturing or rhetoric.

It very much ought to be part of the prosecution of the crime, which allegedly involves 13 men with ties to far-right militia and extremist groups plotting to capture Whitmer.

Whitmer has been a target for those on the right since the emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted the governor to hand down strict lockdown orders aimed at slowing the spread of the illness.

Rather than unify, or calm feelings of those who came out in opposition of the lockdown orders of Whitmer and other state governors, Trump stirred up the crowds for political purposes.

This included going to Twitter.

He told the right-wing crowds, for instance, to “LIBERATE” Michigan in April, which certainly could carry overtones which ultimately could have led to the plot against Whitmer.

“If this were virtually anyone else, their name would be added to the subject line of the investigation. That would be looked at for instigating violence. Aiding and abetting. Conspiring,” said Frank Figliuzzi, assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI. “There would be a serious sitdown at the very least and they would be shown the dots that are connected between their rhetoric, their encouragement and actual acting out violently. This is the president of the United States.

“We have an attorney general who is keeps pointing to the far left and trying to draw some kind of equivalency between extreme organized violence on the right and violent protests on the left. That isn’t there. We have a vice president who in his debate with Kamala Harris when asked what the role would be if the president refused to step down after a certified election refused to answer the question. That gets received by violent extremists as a wink and nod,” Figliuzzi added. “‘It’s okay to act out. If we don’t get our way in the election.’”

Michigan state Attorney General Dana Nessel said that she blames Trump for the alleged kidnap against the governor.

“First of all, of course, having a president that seems to condone these types of actions. Certainly I would say more than dog whistles out there. Right? I mean, ‘Very good people on both sides,’ and as you indicated before, tweets to ‘liberate’ Michigan. What does that mean exactly? And, you know, calls to ‘stand back and stand by’ when you’re talking about the Proud Boys,” she said, referring to a recent comment Trump made during the presidential debate. “So this is a president that traffics in extremism. And I hear the press frequently talk about it in terms of a dog whistle to these groups, but to me it’s not a dog whistle. It is really a command to action more than anything, and especially I see that in terms of our governor.

“What these groups often tend to do is they take advantage of moments of civil unrest, and between the COVID epidemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, things have only escalated more and more,” Nessel said. “And you see this hateful rhetoric against our governor for months and months and you’ve seen it enabled not just by the president but by other elected leaders in our state that call her a dictator or use other very hostile language towards her.”

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