(Daily360.com) – Late in the 2020 election cycle Michigan’s Democrat Governor, Gretchen Whitmer went public with a wild tale about a group of extremists who planned to kidnap and possibly kill her. The media ran with the story for weeks and tried to tie the event to Donald Trump and his supporters. President Joe Biden commended the FBI for their actions in thwarting the plan and directly called out Trump’s rhetoric as the reason for the planned kidnapping. Looking back at the event three years later, there seems to be a number of suspicious elements and aspects surrounding it.
GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy recently sparred with Dana Bash of CNN after a debate when he tied what he sees as flaws in the January 6th insurrection narrative to the flawed Whitmer kidnapping story. He said federal officials told lies to the American people and the majority of people involved with the Whitmer case were FBI assets or agents. He went so far as to say the people prosecuted for the plot were entrapped by government officials.
In 2021, Buzzfeed News broke the story about the number of FBI agents and informants involved in this plot. They described their role in formulating the plan, coming up with cash payments to entice the men and of a female informant who would go so far as to sleep in the same room with some of the men. In total six men were brought up on federal charges with another eight facing state charges. At trial, public defenders for these men stated that the FBI used multiple undercover agents and at least 12 informants, controlled by several field offices to entrap their clients.
An FBI informant named Dan Chappel, 34, was at the heart of the plan working with the feds to recruit the would-be kidnapping team. The FBI supplied Chappel with the money that he would offer to entice his targets. One such target, Adam Fox, was repeatedly offered $5,000 by Chappel to help him buy things like guns and ammunition but despite being broke Fox always refused the money. Chappel was paid at least $54,000 by the government for his role in the plot.
One of the lead FBI investigators, Richard Trask, who signed a complaint against the federal defendants was himself arrested after beating his wife at a swinger’s party. He was removed from the case and then fired. Chappell’s two FBI handlers were removed from the case as well after one, Henrik Impola, was alleged to have committed perjury. The other, Jayson Chambers, was removed after posting about the case on social media to drum up side work. Another FBI resource, Steve Robeson, was charged with fraud and a firearm felony.
After a four-week trial two of the defendants were found not guilty on all charges as the jury believed they were entrapped. Another two had a mistrial but the government quickly re-filed and brought them to trial again. This time the government was able to secure 15-year prison sentences for the two men. The head of the Detroit FBI field office overseeing the Whitmer case, Steven D’Antuono, was later promoted by FBI Director Christopher Wray to run the D.C. field office just before the events of January 6th, 2021.
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