Tinfoil Hat Fool Figliuzzi: Trump Should Have Been Probed as Co-Conspirator in Whitmer Plot

One of many tinfoil hat-wearers on MSNBC, former FBI agent and MSNBC contributor Frank Figliuzzi unspooled his latest head-scratcher during Thursday’s ReidOut, lamenting to fellow conspiracy theorist and host Joy Reid that President Trump should have been probed as a co-conspirator in the failed plot by anarchists to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI).

Reid teed Figliuzzi up by wondering whether Trump could have been looked at as part of law enforcement’s investigation for “aiding and abetting, basically, domestic terrorism” with his “rhetoric” in the same way if he were “a small town mayor…just repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly stoking and egging on violent groups in their community.”

Instead of putting to an end the zaniness, a dead-serious Figliuzzi replied how, “[i]f this were virtually anyone else,” Trump “would be added to the subject line of the investigation” and “looked at for instigating violence, for aiding and abetting, for conspiring.”

Figliuzzi doubled down and then tripled down by not only bringing Vice President Pence into the discussion, but Attorney General Barr as well (click “expand”):

FIGLIUZZI: There would be a serious sit-down, at the very least, and they’d be shown the dots that are connected between their rhetoric, their encouragement, and actual acting out violently. This is the president of the United States. We have an attorney general who is — who keeps pointing to the far left and trying to draw some kind of equivalency between extreme organized violence on the right and violent protest on the left. That equivalency isn’t there. We have got a vice president, Joy, who in his debate with Kamala Harris, when asked what his role would be if the president refused to step down after a certified election, refused to answer the question. That gets received by violent extremist groups as a wink and a nod. It’s okay to act out if we don’t get our way in the election.

REID: Yes, I have to say, thank God for Christopher Wray. He has stood up really strong to a very weird boss. Frank Figliuzzi, you’re great.

Earlier in the segment, Reid falsely tied Trump to this group as having direct ties to his opposition to Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions (click “expand”):

Months after armed protesters converge on the Michigan capitol to protest the coronavirus lock down order and after Trump called for the liberation of Michigan, whatever that was supposed to mean, and called those protesters very good people, 13 men have been arrested for plotting to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Six of those men were charged by the FBI, including one who was involved in a Second Amendment rally at the Michigan Statehouse in June.

(….)

You know, and, Frank, according to The Daily Beast, social media posts and testimony from neighbors of these so-called Wolverine Watchmen suggest they had a disturbing relationship with the far right paramilitary movement. Michigan has been a hotbed of militia activity for decades, with more than a dozen active military groups and with that as a setting, let’s just put back up what Trump had to say, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” and extremists saw a call to arms. And this was per an NBC News report back in April. What is the relationship, in your view, between Donald Trump’s coddling of white nationalism, and saying things like “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and what we’re seeing today, if you think there is a connection?

Like he would later on, Figliuzzi didn’t disagree and instead insisted we “connect those dots, Joy, because the dots show us that our commander in chief is essentially becoming a radicalizer in chief” and “the dots are there” even though Trump wasn’t in direct communication with the Wolverine Watchmen.

Sadly, Figliuzzi’s conspiracy tying Trump was not only shared by Reid, but by many of the top news outlets, including (but not limited to) ABC, CBS, NBCNews.com, NewsweekNew York Daily News, and Politico. Then again, we shouldn’t have expected anything less than the guy who said Trump lowering the flags to half-staff on August 8 after the Dayton and El Paso shootings was a secret code to Nazis and argued a group of unelected bureaucrats should determine who can run for president.

With that in mind, how about we “connect those dots,” shall we?

In the charging affidavit, President Trump’s name never appears. Furthermore, page four says the following and further demolished the notion that Trump’s tweets and disapproval of Whitmer inspired them:

The militia group had already been brought to the attention of the FBI by a local police department in March 2020, when members of the militia group were attempting to obtain the addresses of local law-enforcement officers. At the time, the FBI interviewed a member of the militia group who was concerned about the group’s plans to target and kill police officers, and that person agreed to become a CHS.

As some have noted (including Reason’s Robby Soave), one of the six conspirators (Brandon Casterta) has said on tape that “Trump is not your friend” since “[e]very single” government employee “is your enemy,” including their desire to kill police officers.

On page eight of the affidavit, co-conspirator Adam Fox spoke more broadly about their frustrations writ large: “I just wanna make it all glow dude. I don’t fuckin’ care anymore, I’m just so sick of it. That’s what it’s gonna take for us to take it back, we’re just gonna have to everything’s gonna have to be annihilated man.”

With just those three “dots,” it sure doesn’t seem like the President gave them aide and comfort or inspired them.

Figliuzzi’s galaxy-brain stupid analysis was made possible by advertisers such as ClearChoice and Farmer’s Insurance. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from October 8, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s The ReidOut
October 8, 2020
7:24 p.m. Eastern

JOY REID: Months after armed protesters converge on the Michigan capitol to protest the coronavirus lock down order and after Trump called for the liberation of Michigan, whatever that was supposed to mean, and called those protesters very good people, 13 men have been arrested for plotting to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Six of those men were charged by the FBI, including one who was involved in a Second Amendment rally at the Michigan Statehouse in June. According to court documents, their plan was to kidnap the governor and try her for treason in their own little made-up courtroom, I suppose. An additional seven men are linked to the so-called Wolverine Watchmen militia. And they have been charged by the Michigan attorney general, not just for planning to kidnap Whitmer, but also for planning to start a civil war. True story. Governor Whitmer called out Donald Trump, accusing him of encouraging this brand of extremism.

GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Our head of state has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger, and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.

REID: I’m joined now by Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI. And, Frank, always good to see you. Can I just play for you — I’m going to play a little bit of what Attorney General Dana Nessel, the Michigan attorney general, had to say, calling this just the tip of the iceberg. Here she is.

MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL DANA NESSEL (D): This may very well be the tip of the iceberg. I don’t feel as though our work or the work of the federal authorities is complete. And I think there are still dangerous individuals that are — that are out there. And it’s a point of great concern, and that’s why I think it’s so important that our elected leaders tone down the rhetoric and make it clear, once and for all, and to be unequivocal about the fact that they do not condone and they actually condemn these individuals and this type of conduct and these type of organizations.

REID: You know, and, Frank, according to The Daily Beast, social media posts and testimony from neighbors of these so-called Wolverine Watchmen suggest they had a disturbing relationship with the far right paramilitary movement. Michigan has been a hotbed of militia activity for decades, with more than a dozen active military groups and with that as a setting, let’s just put back up what Trump had to say, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” and extremists saw a call to arms. And this was per an NBC News report back in April. What is the relationship, in your view, between Donald Trump’s coddling of white nationalism, and saying things like “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and what we’re seeing today, if you think there is a connection?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI: Yes, let’s connect those dots, Joy, because the dots show us that our commander in chief is essentially becoming a radicalizer in chief. Let’s go back to the El Paso Walmart shooter and the language that he was using in his communications and his documents online. He kept referring to the brown invaders and other language repeated frequently by the president. And that language toward immigrants is echoed throughout various social media platforms of extremist and violent groups. Then let’s fast-forward. Let’s go to the debate night with Joe Biden, where the president said about the Proud Boys, “Stand back and stand by,” and let’s look at how that was received among those groups, who saw it as a kind of call to arms, a call to violence. They were ready. They were energized by it. Now let’s look at the Michigan arrests and the takedown of these militia and affiliated members, who were prepared for extreme violence, to include blowing up police departments, assembling IEDs, kidnapping a governor and when did that plot start? According to the charging documents, soon after that tweet, “liberate Michigan.” So, I say the dots are there. Whether the President intends it or not is almost incidental. What we need to be studying is how his language, his rhetoric, his refusal to denounce clearly is being received by violent individuals and law enforcement is preparing for more of this, more of it leading up to the election and more of it between the election and Inauguration Day.

REID: Yes, and this is Donald Trump just this morning. It’s not as if what’s happened today has changed him in any way here. Here he is talking about the governor.

TRUMP: She’s the lockup queen. What she’s done to that — that place is horrible. She’s locked it up. She’s got people, like, living in prison.

REID: If you — if this was a counterintelligence investigation, and let’s say there was a small town mayor who was just repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly stoking and egging on violent groups in their community. Would they be a part of your investigation? Would their rhetoric be a part of the investigation? Could Donald Trump be aiding and abetting, basically, domestic terrorism?

FIGLIUZZI: If this were virtually anyone else, Joy, their name would be added to the subject line of the investigation. They would be looked at for instigating violence, for aiding and abetting, for conspiring. There would be a serious sit-down, at the very least, and they’d be shown the dots that are connected between their rhetoric, their encouragement, and actual acting out violently. This is the president of the United States. We have an attorney general who is — who keeps pointing to the far left and trying to draw some kind of equivalency between extreme organized violence on the right and violent protest on the left. That equivalency isn’t there. We have got a vice president, Joy, who in his debate with Kamala Harris, when asked what his role would be if the president refused to step down after a certified election, refused to answer the question. That gets received by violent extremist groups as a wink and a nod. It’s okay to act out if we don’t get our way in the election.

REID: Yes, I have to say, thank God for Christopher Wray. He has stood up really strong to a very weird boss. Frank Figliuzzi, you’re great. Thank you very much. Really appreciate your time tonight.

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