Whatever you think about Tucker Carlson, it’s a fact that he’s exceptionally bright. Read some of his writing and that’ll be clear instantly. We all make mistakes but it’s hard to imagine him making a stupid mistake.
Which is why this, like his anti-vaccine propaganda based on VAERS data, feels sinister. It’s too simple an error to to believe that it’s a product of good faith.
The alternative is that it’s deliberate disinformation. Watch, then read on.
Tucker Carlson’s latest take on the Jan. 6th attack on the capitol is that it was actually an FBI false flag pic.twitter.com/s87r1eQYSU
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) June 16, 2021
Lawyers and legal writers are scratching their heads trying to figure out why he thinks the unindicted co-conspirators mentioned in the charging documents were working for the FBI on January 6. To engage in conspiracy under U.S. law, you need to intend to commit a crime with at least one other person. You or your co-conspirator(s) also need to commit an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. Simply hatching a plot isn’t enough; someone needs to take a concrete step towards actually carrying it out.
So how can an FBI operative, supposedly working for the government on January 6, have formed the requisite criminal intent to qualify as a co-conspirator?
Guys, agents and informants basically *can’t* be co-conspirators, and this has been the law for a while. E.g., United States v. Rodriguez, 765 F. 2d 1546, 1152 (11th Cir. 1985) (“[A]gents and informers cannot be conspirators.”)
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) June 16, 2021
Not [email protected] understand this story, but by definition, a government informant cannot be an unindicted coconspirator. Conspiracy is agreement to commit crime. If you are there on [email protected] police to inform, then you haven’t agreed.
— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) June 16, 2021
“Undercover officers and informants can’t be ‘co-conspirators’ for the purposes of establishing an agreement to violate the law, because they are only pretending to agree to do so,” a professor at Duke Law explained to WaPo. “An unindicted co-conspirator has committed the crime of conspiracy, and investigative agents doing their jobs undercover are not committing crimes.”
Well, then, who could these unindicted co-conspirators be? If they weren’t “deep state” agents provocateur out to ensnare the patriotic heroes who attended Trump’s January 6 rally in a false-flag insurrection, who are they?
A much less sexy but much more obvious possibility is that they’re insurrectionists who rolled over on their comrades after January 6 when the FBI came knocking, a prospect that’s terrified suspects for months. Someone who participated in the riot but then made a deal with the feds after they faced prosecution would qualify as a co-conspirator because they did sincerely intend to commit one or more crimes at the time of the attack. The most likely reason why they haven’t been indicted is because they’re cooperating.
Or rather, that’s the most likely reason they haven’t been indicted yet. Chris Wray told Congress yesterday that the FBI has already identified close to 500 suspects from the riot and “we have hundreds of investigations that are still ongoing beyond those 500.” It may be that the feds are planning to charge the unindicted co-conspirators eventually but are waiting to figure out how lenient to be depending upon how useful their information is.
Aaron Blake of WaPo looked through some of the charging documents after Carlson’s segment last night. Tucker was quite taken in the clip with how “Person 2” in the Thomas Caldwell case has escaped prosecution so far despite the fact that Person 2 shared a hotel room in D.C. with Caldwell. Surely that person must have been an FBI agent who gained Caldwell’s trust and led him down the primrose path to rioting, right? Not really, says Blake. It sounds like Person 2 is … Caldwell’s wife:
In addition, you don’t need to look any further than the Caldwell indictment to see that we should hardly assume the unindicted co-conspirators are government agents.
The first time the indictment references one, it says, “The Oath Keepers are led by PERSON ONE.” That person is easily identifiable as Stewart Rhodes. There’s no evidence he is a secret government agent.
And there is reason to believe one of the two unidentified co-conspirators Carlson focused on might actually be Caldwell’s wife. Caldwell’s indictment says, “CALDWELL and PERSON TWO took ‘selfie’ photographs of themselves on the balcony and in other areas on the perimeter of the Capitol.” The Washington Post has reported that Caldwell posted images to Facebook while writing, “Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon is right with me. I am such an instigator!” Caldwell’s wife, who has not been charged with a crime, was not otherwise referenced in his indictment, despite being present near him in the Capitol.
Maybe the feds made a deal with Sharon Caldwell to testify against her husband. Or maybe Thomas swung a deal for leniency for her: “I’ll plead/inform on others if you go easy on my wife.” That’s a boring alternative to Carlson’s theory but it’s almost certainly what happened here. And a smart cookie like Tucker would recognize it.
So why is he pushing a false false-flag theory on his audience, replete with graphics that place the words “insurrection” in scare-quotes?
The point of his segment wasn’t to credibly accuse the FBI of masterminding the Capitol riot, it was part of the broader MAGA effort to raise enough doubt about what “really” happened on January 6 that the actual insurrectionists can’t properly be blamed. For months, apologists for the riot have been throwing alternate theories at the proverbial wall to see what sticks. Jonathan Last listed a few this morning:
There was no insurrection; it was a peaceful protest.
There was no insurrection; it was a mostly peaceful protest with a couple of well-meaning knuckleheads who are being prosecuted.
There was an insurrection and it was a false flag perpetrated by violent Antifa thugs.
There was an insurrection and it conducted by brave patriots who righteously occupied the People’s House and were willing to die to #stopthesteal.
Law enforcement officers on the scene didn’t have any concerns; they opened the doors to Trump supporters and welcomed them.
Law enforcement officers on the scene were violent thugs who martyred Ashli Babbitt.
Tucker’s contribution last night was to imply that it was all a set-up by the “deep state” FBI. Last calls the broader messaging a “chaff” approach to excuse-making, in which a bunch of contradictory theories are floated not to persuade anyone that any single one is correct but to obfuscate and distract until people come to believe that we just can’t know the truth and lose interest. Or, in his words, “It’s to flood the public square with so many inputs that society becomes overloaded and can’t muster a reaction.”
Whatever “really” happened, it certainly can’t have been as simple as a bunch of Trump fans driven nuts by two months of presidential “stop the steal” propaganda breaking into the Capitol hoping to hang Mike Pence because he wouldn’t abet a coup attempt.
It would be simple enough to get to the bottom of who “Person 2” and the other unindicted co-conspirators are if we had a bipartisan January 6 commission but for some reason Trump, top MAGA personalities like Tucker, and the great majority of Senate Republicans are all against the idea. Don’t Republicans want to expose the great “deep state” conspiracy? I guess we’ll have to wonder what “really” happened on January 6 forever.
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