Report: FBI tried to coax Virginia man to kidnap Gov. Ralph Northam

by WorldTribune Staff, April 17, 2022

The same FBI operation which concocted the bogus kidnapping plot against Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also tried to convince a Virginia man to participate in a similar kidnapping scheme involving Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam, a report said.

The Virginia scheme “didn’t fully materialize, but the FBI’s attempt to pull off a similar stunt in Virginia reveals just how far agents were willing to go to bolster FBI Director Christopher Wray’s false warning that domestic extremists planned to ‘kill and assassinate’ public officials,” Julie Kelly reported for American Greatness on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

As the election was kicking into full gear in the summer of 2020, Dan Chappel, the FBI’s main informant in the Whitmer plot who was compensated at least $60,000 for his services, targeted the Virginia man, Frank Butler, a disabled veteran in his late 60s and an alleged militia member, Kelly reported. Taking instructions from Jayson Chambers, one of his FBI handling agents, Chappel used the same playbook in Virginia as in Michigan.

“Dan suggests to Frank that he engage in acts of domestic terror,” defense attorneys wrote in a joint motion filed last year in the Whitmer case. “Like the defendants in this case, Dan suggested to Frank that he attack the governor of Virginia.”

Screenshots submitted into evidence in the Whitmer case show an exchange between Chappel and Chambers in August 2020. “Goin [sic] to call frank butler today,” Chappel texted Chambers, asking for direction on what he should say to his target. “Mission is to kill the governor specifically,” Chambers replied.

Just as in the Whitmer plot, Chappel lured Butler into attempting to build an explosive device. Another text exchange in September 2020 shows Chappel and Chambers discussing a “recipe” for a bomb that Chappel could provide to Butler. After passing along the information to Butler, Chappel texted Chambers to tell him Butler planned on purchasing bomb-making supplies. “Awesome. Excellent work,” Chambers told Chappel.

Related: Jury spurns DOJ on Michigan FBI sting op that may have impacted voter behavior, April 10, 2020

Chappel also invited Butler to a field training exercise in Wisconsin during the last weekend in October, an excursion that was attended by some defendants in the Whitmer caper, Kelly noted.

“This event, like all the others,” defense attorneys wrote, “was conceived, planned, and conducted by the federal investigative team of agents and undercover informants working together to provide a stage upon which to manipulate their targets into acting out ostensibly incriminating behavior the government hoped to elicit in its bid to develop and then ‘interrupt’ the operation of a ‘domestic terrorist organization.’”

Butler, who cannot drive due to disabilities, did not participate. And to date, he has not been charged with any crime.

Northam, like Whitmer, “made the most of the imaginary threat against him,” Kelly noted. “Also like Whitmer, Northam repeatedly blamed Trump for the FBI-concocted plot, adding to nonstop news coverage as Americans were already voting for president.”

“Words matter,” Northam said during an October 14, 2020 interview on CNN, echoing the talking points being used by Joe Biden on the campaign stump at the time. “People take their marching orders from people like the president and it needs to stop.” Northam accused Trump of emboldening “white supremacists” and fueling “hatred and bigotry.”

Northam’s spokeswoman also got in on the act. “The President regularly encourages violence against those who disagree with him,” Alena Yarmosky said in a statement to reporters. “The rhetoric coming out of this White House has serious and potentially deadly consequences.”

Yarmosky also told reporters that Northam’s security team had been briefed “throughout the course of the investigation” by the FBI.

In Michigan, Whitmer clearly knew about the kidnapping plot because the FBI testified during the trial that investigators installed surveillance cameras around her vacation cottage, the potential scene of the fake crime.

“So, now that the kidnapping plots have been exposed as an elaborate case of FBI entrapment, the public deserves to know how the governors were ‘briefed’ on the sting operation,” Kelly wrote, adding that government officials “need to account for their knowledge and/or participation in the scheme. Ralph Northam should be on that list.”

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