During a floor speech on Thursday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) became the latest conservative to suggest the FBI may have been involved in perpetrating the January 6th Capitol insurrection. The theory appears to have originated in the fringe website Revolver, after which it was amplified Tuesday on Fox News by Tucker Carlson, who claimed “FBI operatives” were involving in storming the Capitol.
Speaking on the House floor, Gohmert, who voted against forming a January 6 commission to investigate the incident, said that “we really need to know what the FBI knew” about January 6. For good measure, Gohmert also suggested the FBI was involved in the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI).
So if there were federal agents that were involved on January 6th, we really need to know what the FBI knew and when they knew it. And not only that, we need to know how much participation that any of our federal friends – either at DOJ, FBI, or any of the intel community – what kind of role were they playing? Because there’s information that came out about the effort to kidnap the Michigan governor, and there were federal agents, so it’s been said, there were federal agents that were involved in that.
The FBI became “involved” in the Whitmer case when agents learned of social media chatter about a possible overthrow of the state’s government. Subsequently, it infiltrated a militia group using confidential informants, which is a common law enforcement practice.
Carlson, who helped proliferate the theory that the FBI was involved in the Capitol riot, said on Tuesday, “Some of the key people who participated on January 6th have not been charged. Look at the documents. The government calls those people unindicted co-conspirators. What does that mean? Well, it means that in potentially every single case, they were FBI operatives.”
The problem with this claim, as one Cornell law professor told The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake is this: “There are many reasons why an indictment would reference unindicted co-conspirators, but their status as FBI agents is not one of them.”
As Blake pointed out, there may be several reasons a charging document may refer to an “unidicted co-conspirator,” including the possibilities that: the person’s identity is unknown; prosecutors are not prepared to charge the individual at the time the document was written; the unindicted co-conspirator is cooperating with authorities in exchange for not being indicted or some other form of leniency.
Presumably, the questions Gohmert raised about “what the FBI knew and when they knew it,” and what if any role other federal agencies had on January 6 would be answered by the very sort of bipartisan commission he voted against forming in May. Although the House did pass that measure, it died in the Senate in a procedural vote.
Watch above via C-SPAN
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