The Gretchen Whitmer ‘Kidnapping’ Case About to be Tossed?

by Julie Kelly


At this point, perhaps the Justice Department should pray that the judge rules in favor of the defense and dismisses the case before the FBI is further embarrassed—and exposed.

The U.S. Department of Justice received an unwelcome Christmas gift from defense attorneys representing five men charged with conspiring to “kidnap” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020: a motion to dismiss the case.

The Christmas Day filing is the latest blow to the government’s scandal-ridden prosecution; defense counsel is building a convincing argument that the FBI used undercover agents and informants to entrap their clients in a wide-ranging scheme that resulted in bad press for Donald Trump as early voting was underway in the key swing state last year. What began as random social media chatter to oppose lock down policies quickly morphed into a dangerous plan to abduct Whitmer as soon as the FBI took over.

A Michigan judge delayed the trial, now set for March 8, so defense attorneys could investigate the misconduct of FBI special agents handling at least a dozen government informants involved in the caper.

As I reported last week, the lead prosecutor recently informed the judge that three of the FBI’s top agents involved in the case will not take the stand as government witnesses. Richard Trask, the FBI special agent who signed the initial criminal complaint against six men facing federal charges—one man pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities—was removed from the case and fired by the FBI after he physically assaulted his wife last summer in a drunken rage following a swingers party at a hotel near their home.

And it isn’t just FBI agents causing headaches for the government. Stephen Robeson, a convicted felon and longtime FBI informant who planned several kidnapping-related outings including a militia conference in Ohio, recently pleaded guilty to illegally purchasing and possessing a sniper rifle in 2020. The government offered Robeson a sweetheart deal—time served on a felony charge with a potential 10-year prison term, two years probation, and $100 fine—and he will be sentenced in February, a month before the Whitmer trial is scheduled to begin.

The Justice Department won’t confirm whether Robeson will testify; given his central role in the plot and criminal history, including statutory rape, and the misconduct of his FBI handlers, it’s hard to see how Robeson’s testimony would help the government’s case.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, insist the suggestion that the FBI was responsible for the Whitmer kidnapping plot is a factless fantasy peddled by the same people who claim January 6 was an inside job. “The conspiracy theory that the FBI instigated the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol to entrap otherwise law-abiding citizens has been actively promoted by certain media outlets,” the government sneered in a recent motion, referring to Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

And therein lies the government’s biggest headache of all. If a trial showcases all the ways in which the FBI orchestrated the Whitmer kidnapping plan from start to finish—and the defense features the lowlife agents and informants who made it possible—the public will demand a similar reckoning about the FBI’s role in January 6.

At this point, perhaps the Justice Department should pray that the judge rules in favor of the defense and dismisses the case before the FBI is further embarrassed—and exposed.

The agents who managed the day-to-day activity of the case’s lead informant also will not testify. FBI agent Jayson Chambers ran a security consulting business on the side; an anonymous Twitter account claiming to represent his firm, Exeintel, dropped hints of pending arrests in the Whitmer case, calling into question his motives as a lead investigator. His partner, FBI agent Henrik Impola, has been accused of committing perjury in a separate case.

“The government does not plan to call Impola, Chambers, or Trask as witnesses,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge notified the court on December 17. “[The] government requests the Court exclude evidence relating to Exeintel, the unfounded allegations against SA Impola, and Richard Trask’s domestic assault charges or alleged social media posts.”

Now the judge will consider defense counsel’s latest motion to drop the kidnapping conspiracy charges against Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Dan Harris, and Brandon Caserta; in the April 2021 superseding indictment, which defense attorneys cite in the motion, the Justice Department described the defendants as domestic terrorists who attempted “to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”

But the real conspiracy—as court documents, testimony, and communications between FBI handlers and their informants show—was concocted by federal operatives working inside and outside the FBI Detroit field office.

“In this Case, the undisputed evidence, as demonstrated in forty-four pages of statements already submitted to the Court, establishes that government agents and informants concocted, hatched, and pushed this ‘kidnapping plan’ from the beginning, doing so against defendants who explicitly repudiated the plan,” the five defense attorneys wrote in the December 25 motion. “When the government was faced with evidence showing that the defendants had no interest in a kidnapping plot, it refused to accept failure and continued to push its plan.”

The FBI funded and organized two “militia” conferences in the summer of 2020 to lure would-be kidnappers; handled all expenses so indigent defendants could attend surveillance and training excursions, which were photographed by the government to use as evidence; and paid cash to numerous informants, including at least $50,000 to the lead informant, known as “Big Dan” to the unwitting suspects.

A footnote in the 20-page filing explained how “Big Dan” and other informants acted as the monetary pass-through between the FBI and the Whitmer defendants. “The government was not going to be deterred by the fact that the defendants did not have the money to travel throughout the Midwest in order to play along with the CHSs and undercover agents. CHS Dan, while often claiming poverty, always had the resources to drive, feed, and house others whom he hoped to pull into the government plan. Another CHS convinced many that he would finance operations through a 501(c)(3) charity and would even provide debit cards to others, drawing on his accounts. So while the defendants had no interest in profit . . . the government’s exploitation of its virtually unlimited resources, poured into its investigation, further underscores entrapment as a matter of law.” This included informants’ picking up the tab for food, lodging, and gas among other expenses.







Was the FBI’s Whitmer Chicanery a Warm-up for January 6?

By Julie Kelly
By removing three dirty cops from the witness list, the Justice Department hopes to prevent any cross-examination during the trial and, one supposes, any link to January 6.

As questions mount about the government’s animating role in the Capitol protest on January 6, the criminal case against the men charged with conspiring to “kidnap” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 continues to collapse. 

Defense attorneys in the Whitmer case are carefully compiling evidence that depicts an elaborate tale of FBI entrapment; at least a dozen FBI informants were involved in the failed plot—equaling one FBI asset per defendant. FBI agents handling the informants directed every move. They funded training and reconnaissance trips, and even organized a “national militia” conference in Ohio in June 2020 to lure potential accomplices.

Several men were arrested in October 2020 when the lead informant drove them to meet an undercover FBI agent to purchase munitions, the six month-long scheme’s dramatic conclusion. News of the shocking plot made national headlines as early voting was underway in Michigan: Joe Biden, Whitmer, and the media blamed Donald Trump for inciting an attempted domestic terror attack. (Sound familiar?)

As I explained in an October column, the plan to abduct Whitmer—who had a very public feud with Trump throughout 2020—originated from Operation Cold Snap, an undercover multi-state FBI spy ring intended ostensibly to surveil “militia groups” opposed to states’ lockdown policies.

Henrik Impola, one of the FBI special agents managing the Whitmer kidnapping plan, confirmed the existence of Operation Cold Snap in sworn testimony earlier this year. 

“From the FBI through the domestic terrorism operation center, I was aware of other FBI investigations in Baltimore and Milwaukee and Cincinnati and Indiana involving other militia members,” Impola told a judge in March.  

Impola’s role in the Whitmer caper, in fact, stemmed from his work as a case agent for Operation Cold Snap. The 11-year bureau veteran has spent his entire FBI career investigating counterrorism, including “militia extremism,” which enabled Impola to designate the Wolverine Watchmen, a Facebook group with no real organization coincidentally formed just months before the sting, a “terror enterprise” to justify the government’s central involvement in rigging the kidnapping scheme.

Impola, working out of a satellite office in Flint that reports to Michigan’s only FBI field office in Detroit, was deeply involved in every facet of the Whitmer plot. His testimony is crucial to persuading a jury that the men on trial conspired to abduct Whitmer from her vacation home last year.

But Impola will not testify during the trial scheduled to begin on March 8. (The judge overseeing the case delayed the original November trial date after defense attorneys requested more time to investigate the government’s informants and agents.) BuzzFeed News reported over the weekend that Impola won’t be on the government’s witness list after defense attorneys accused Impola of perjury in another case.

In fact, the Justice Department notified the court on Friday that all three of the top FBI agents in charge of the Whitmer investigation, including Impola, will not testify on behalf of the government amid accusations of misconduct, domestic abuse charges, and political bias.

Jayson Chambers, who worked side-by-side with Impola throughout the sting, was caught running a consulting business and anonymously publicizing his side gig on social media. Over the summer, defense attorneys, citing a separate BuzzFeed report, accused Chambers of using a troll account to hint that something big was coming out of Michigan. The troll account purportedly belonged to the CEO of Exeintel—a cyber intelligence firm owned by none other than Jayson Chambers.

“The evidence documented in the [BuzzFeed] story suggests that Special Agent Chambers used the investigation to promote his company and its services,” defense attorneys wrote in an August filing. Chambers’ moonlighting not only shows a personal motive in coordinating the kidnapping ruse, it also calls into question the integrity of the FBI’s top informant, who kept in nearly-hourly contact with Chambers and Impola for more than six months. Defense counsel will want to know whether the informant knew of Chambers’ side business.

And Michigan wasn’t Chambers’ and his informant’s only target. The pair conspired to entrap another man, a disabled Vietnam veteran from Virginia, into devising a plan to assassinate Virginia Governor Ralph Northam before the 2020 election. “The mission is to kill the governor specifically,” Chambers instructed his informant. (That plot failed to materialize.)

But it would be hard to find a bigger lowlife in the Whitmer case than the lead agent, who not only has been removed from the witness list but fired from the FBI, a near impossible feat. 

Meet Ray Epps, Part 2: Damning New Details Emerge Exposing Massive 'Web Of Unindicted' Operators at the Heart of January 6

by Revolver News


Six weeks ago, Revolver News published a blockbuster investigative report on Ray Epps — a man who, more than any other individual, appears to be the key unlocking the question of active federal involvement in the so-called “Capitol Siege” of January 6th.

Out of all of the thousands of January 6’s protesters, and the thousands of hours of publicly available footage from that fateful day, Ray Epps has turned out to be perhaps the only person nailed dead to rights confessing on camera to plotting a pre-planned attack on the Capitol. On both January 5 and January 6, Epps announced multiple times, at multiple locations, his upcoming plot to breach the US Capitol. He then spent hours attempting to recruit hundreds of others to join him. On top of it all, Epps was seen leading key people and managing key aspects of the initial breach of the Capitol grounds himself.

It would be one thing if Epps’s repeated calls on January 5 to “go into the Capitol” had simply amounted to bluster. But Epps followed through on his stated mission to shepherd others inside. In clips 4-6 of the above compilation, we see Epps actively orchestrate elements of the very first breach of the Capitol barricades at 12:50 p.m, while Trump still had 20 minutes left in his rally speech.

It is noteworthy that this Ray Epps breach occurs just one minute after Capitol Police began responding to reports of two “pipe bombs” located at DNC and GOP headquarters, respectively. Rather conveniently, the already-handicapped Capitol Police thus had still-fewer resources with which to respond to the barricade breach in question.

While the “pipe bombs” turned out to be a dud, the Ray Epps breach proved fateful. Today, the official stories told by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the US Justice Department all depict the apparent Ray Epps-orchestrated 12:50 p.m. initial breach of metal barricades as the “Big Bang” event of January 6.

In large part, this description is hardly an exaggeration. Indeed, it was the 12:50 p.m. breach of the Capitol grounds, in conjunction with a handful of suspicious individuals ripping down fencing and signage, that set in motion the conditions allowing for 1/6 to turn from a rally into a riot. 

In this report, we will blow open this network of still-unindicted key operators who appear to have been at work either with or around Ray Epps during the initial Capitol grounds breach. You, dear reader, will be scandalized — though perhaps unsurprised — to learn that none of the actors covered in this report have received attention in the mainstream press, despite their active and indispensable roles in the events of 1/6.

As we explained in detail in our previous report, the FBI originally put Ray Epps’s face on its Capitol Violence “Most Wanted List” on January 8, 2021, just two days after 1/6. They offered a cash reward for information leading to his arrest. In fact, rank-and-file FBI agents initially deemed Epps’s role as an apparent riot organizer so important that they named him Suspect #16—one of the first 20 high-profile FBI targets in a database now packed with more than 500 suspects.

Then, six months later on June 30, 2021, both Revolver News and The New York Times published inconvenient stories that encouraged a more aggressive interrogation of the “Ray Epps third rail,” leading reasonable people to wonder why this publicly identified man on the Most Wanted List still had no charges filed against him.

The FBI responded to these important media stories the very next day. But their response was to quietly purge all online Ray Epps files from their website, then switch to a posture of “What? Who? Ray Epps? Never heard of him.”

Agents of the FBI Field Office in Phoenix (where Epps lives) have gone so far as to explicitly deny knowledge that Ray Epps even exists. Instead of pursuing Epps, FBI agents have instead pursued journalists who had the temerity to ask Epps in person if he was a government operative. “I understand that, but I can’t say anything,” is all Epps would tell them.

Here’s a quick visual synopsis of this timeline:

Then, six months later on June 30, 2021, both Revolver News and The New York Times published inconvenient stories that encouraged a more aggressive interrogation of the “Ray Epps third rail,” leading reasonable people to wonder why this publicly identified man on the Most Wanted List still had no charges filed against him.

The FBI responded to these important media stories the very next day. But their response was to quietly purge all online Ray Epps files from their website, then switch to a posture of “What? Who? Ray Epps? Never heard of him.”

Agents of the FBI Field Office in Phoenix (where Epps lives) have gone so far as to explicitly deny knowledge that Ray Epps even exists. Instead of pursuing Epps, FBI agents have instead pursued journalists who had the temerity to ask Epps in person if he was a government operative. “I understand that, but I can’t say anything,” is all Epps would tell them.

Here’s a quick visual synopsis of this timeline:

The sham Congressional January 6 Commission seems to be going along with the charade of Ray Epps denialism. For all of its recent gesticulations about Mark Meadows’s benign text messages, the Commission has yet to express even a basic interest in Ray Epps or his communications leading up to and on January 6.

But the specter of Ray Epps, and the ominous questions his immunity raises, loom too large to be memory-holed by poorly coordinated efforts of government denial. In light of the above, it is both amusing and symbolically appropriate that despite the FBI’s attempt to purge Epps’s face from its “Wanted” database (and public denials of his existence from authorized agents), the FBI DC Field Office still features Ray Epps as a “Wanted” man in its current pinned Twitter image (look closely and you’ll find it).

If Epps turns out to have been some kind of government operative, which at present is the only clean and simple explanation for his immunity, it is game over for the official “MAGA insurrection” narrative of 1/6. Epps was the day’s loudest riot recruiter, and its apparent leader of the very first breach of Capitol grounds. If Ray Epps is a Fed, the “Insurrection” becomes the “Fedsurrection” in one fell swoop.

So if Ray Epps was instructed by the government to play his part in various recruiting, breaching and crowd control efforts that day, we would expect many other informants to be set up around him.

To test this hypothesis, Revolver spent the past six weeks comprehensively mapping Ray Epps’s network of interactions on January 6, and profiling the key people around him who complemented his efforts. We did a deep dive into other key figures involved in the initial breach of the Capitol grounds, as well as figures who played an instrumental role in fence removal and crowd control. In short, we investigated key players whose early actions on 1/6 turned the rally into a riot.

The bad news for Fedsurrection Deniers is the results are in, and they look even worse for the FBI than Revolver’s already low expectations. For brevity, we profile five of the most egregious cases in this report, and tell the story of how they crossed paths and interacted with, and in some cases coordinated with Ray Epps to make 1/6 possible. Some of these cases are so wild as to constitute Epps-sized scandals unto themselves.


Six FBI Agents Accused of Soliciting Prostitution, Trafficking Drugs While on Overseas Assignments


Six FBI agents have been accused of criminal activities related to overseas assignments, including drug trafficking, soliciting prostitutes, and failure to report interactions on behalf of foreign nationals, according to CNN.

The allegations come from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General, which released a report on Tuesday accusing four agents of directly engaging in prostitution while they were on official business in another country, and subsequently lying about it. A fifth agent is also accused of having “solicited commercial sex overseas,” while a sixth is accused of having knowledge of this misconduct but failing to report it.

One of the agents in question is additionally accused of giving another agent a package containing “approximately 100 white pills,” with instructions to deliver them to a foreign law enforcement officer.

Over the course of the Inspector General’s investigation, two of the agents in question resigned, another two retired, and one was removed from their position.