Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., said the unprecedented FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago is not the first "October surprise" carried out by the agency on behalf of Democrats, noting the timing of the arrests in the alleged kidnapping plot targeting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
"The same FBI that cooked up a plot to kidnap governors before an election just raided Biden’s most likely challenger," Bishop tweeted on Monday evening amid breaking news of the Mar-a-Lago raid. "Democrats are cheering on the weaponization of law enforcement against political opponents. They don’t care about ‘democracy’: just crushing their enemies."
Bishop joined other GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee in demanding U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Chris Wray urgently testify regarding the Trump raid.
In a follow-up tweet on Tuesday, Bishop noted that jury selection has begun in the re-trial of two of the four men charged in federal court in connection to an alleged kidnapping plot targeting Whitmer in October 2020 allegedly over disgust with the Democrat’s lockdown restrictions.
In April, a federal jury could not reach a verdict for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr., but two other co-defendants, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, were found not guilty and acquitted on all charges.
Defense attorneys had accused the FBI of entrapment, painting their clients of marijuana-smoking weekend warriors, rather than domestic extremists weeded out by an FBI informant.
"As the retrial begins for 2 of the accused in the FBI Whitmer plot, remember: Arrests were announced on Oct. 8th, 2020, during early voting. A perfect October surprise," Bishop tweeted Tuesday. "If you're still inclined to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt here, think again."
Bishop shared a link to a story by The Wall Street Journal outlining how the two acquitted men in the alleged Whitmer kidnapping plot could pose an uphill battle for prosecutors during the retrial, noting how a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan admitted that the "big question is, did the FBI arrest these defendants too quickly, before they gathered enough evidence."
Bishop wrote about the case in a recent op-ed for North State Journal. The congressman pointed out how during a recent hearing hosted by the House Judiciary Committee, he questioned Matthew Olsen, assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
"I questioned Mr. Olsen about a disturbing trend emerging in the DOJ’s efforts to detect and thwart domestic terrorism plots. Specifically, weeks before the 2020 election, the FBI announced it had foiled an alleged plot to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer. Two years later, the story is quite different," Bishop said, noting how two of the men charged were acquitted on grounds of entrapment and the jury was hung on the two others.
"It is clear from the current evidence that federal agents cooked up this operation, trained recruits to carry out the FBI’s plan, directed recruitment efforts, and incentivized the informants with handsome paydays in order to keep the plot moving forward – all on the taxpayers’ dime," Bishop wrote. "It leaves an important question: Is this how the DOJ carries its operations?"
"That’s why I questioned AAG Olsen about the way the DOJ is carrying out its business," the congressman said. "He refused to answer important questions, including: Why did the DOJ announce the case so close to the 2020 election? How much did it cost? The American people deserve answers."