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In his first network interview in 118 days, President Joe Biden pledged on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wednesday night to jail political opponents connected in any way to the events on Jan. 6, 2021. The next morning, Biden’s FBI arrested lead Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley, who was at the Capitol on the day Democrats have christened as a somber national holiday.
Kelley was arrested Thursday morning on “unspecified” charges, according to The Detroit News, after federal law enforcement raided his home near Grand Rapids.
The conspicuous timing of the arrest, just hours before the Select Committee on Jan. 6 launches its prime-time summer show trials, raises questions about to what extent the FBI is colluding with Congress as lawmakers conduct a political witch hunt in the lower chamber. The FBI already blocked Republican requests for the same material that was presented to Democrats on the committee, and last week, former Trump Trade Adviser Peter Navarro was arrested by agents days before Thursday’s hearing. He was the first to be indicted on charges related to the panel’s work.
Kelley, a prominent real estate agent, led the crowded GOP gubernatorial primary in Michigan, with 19 percent in the latest major poll conducted May 26-27 by the Target Insyght and Michigan Information and Research Service.
The opportune timing of his arrest is reminiscent of the fall of 2020, when one month before the presidential election, FBI agents uncovered a supposed kidnapping plot aimed at incumbent Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, to generate anti-Trump headlines of extremism. In April, a jury refused to convict four men trapped in the conspiracy as evidence mounted that the FBI spearheaded the operation as a means of entrapment.
“More than a dozen FBI undercover agents and informants were involved in the kidnapping caper,” reported Julie Kelly, a senior writer at American Greatness, in documenting FBI misconduct.
In September, The New York Times published a report confirming the presence of an FBI informant at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Newsweek then revealed in January that the Department of Justice deployed “national” forces from the FBI at Quantico to the Capitol building with “shoot-to-kill authority.”
Jill Sanborn, the executive assistant director for the FBI’s National Security Branch, refused to answer senators’ questions about the scope of agency involvement at the Capitol during a January hearing on domestic terrorism.
Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.