90 Miles From Tyranny : Steven D’Antuono: The FBI’s Hatchet Man

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Friday, October 7, 2022

Steven D’Antuono: The FBI’s Hatchet Man

It’s not a coincidence that his name appears prominently in the most brazen anti-Trump stunts conducted by the FBI in the past two years.

Defense attorneys representing two men recently convicted for conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 are seeking a new federal trial for their clients amid claims of jury and judicial misconduct. (The men, Adam Fox and Barry Croft were found guilty in August in a second trial; a jury in April failed to reach a verdict on them. Two co-defendants were acquitted after jurors concluded the men had been entrapped by the FBI.) A separate state trial for three other men accused of participating in the scheme is now underway in Jackson, Michigan.

The ongoing legal drama is a reminder of the handiwork of Steven D’Antuono, former head of the Detroit FBI field office, which was primarily responsible for hatching and executing the Whitmer fednapping hoax. Supervising and undercover agents working out of that Detroit office and its satellite branches managed the day-to-day details of the wide-ranging operation such as handling the main FBI informant, Dan Chappel, who was compensated at least $60,000 in cash and personal items paid by the FBI for luring the men into the trap.

About a week after law enforcement authorities announced arrests in the case on October 8, 2020, D’Antuono was rewarded with a plum assignment: head of the Washington FBI field office where he had worked on two other occasions, including a 2008 stint as supervisor of the public corruption and government fraud squad. FBI Director Christopher Wray presumably promoted D’Antuono for helping to bolster one of the FBI’s most absurd and fact-free political narratives—that “white supremacist” terrorists pose a danger to the country. Coverage of the alleged kidnapping plot dominated the news as Whitmer eagerly played the role of victim to Donald Trump’s villain in another example of the FBI interfering in a presidential election to damage Trump.

The FBI announced D’Antuono’s new gig in an October 13, 2020 press release. Ten days later, a handful of agents in the Washington field office conducted a five-hour voluntary interview with Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner of Hunter Biden. Bobulinski told Fox News host Tucker Carlson this week that “as much [sic] as six federal agents” participated in the meeting; Bobulinski walked through his background with the Bidens and discussed records associated with their business ventures. One FBI official gave Bobulinski’s lawyers the cell phone number for Tim Thibault, the assistant special agent in charge of the Washington FBI field office and so-called point person on the matter.

Thibault spoke with Bobulinski’s lawyer a few times over the course of the following week but Bobulinski told Carlson that was the last time he heard from the FBI. And there is a reason why: according to FBI whistleblowers, Thibault quickly shut down any investigation into Hunter Biden. “[In] October 2020, an avenue of additional derogatory Hunter Biden reporting was ordered closed at the direction of ASAC Thibault,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland in July. Thibault was already under Senate scrutiny for his social media activity that showed extreme bias against Trump and his administration.

“In addition, ASAC Thibault allegedly ordered the matter closed without providing a valid reason as required by FBI guidelines. Despite the matter being closed in such a way that the investigative avenue might be opened later, it’s alleged that FBI officials, including ASAC Thibault, subsequently attempted to improperly mark the matter in FBI systems so that it could not be opened in the future.” (Thibault resigned in August and lawyered up.)

So, was Steven D’Antuono one of the “officials” who tried to further bury an inquiry into the Democratic nominee for president and his family, the same nominee on the campaign trail at the time ranting about how domestic terrorists loyal to Trump tried to abduct and assasinate the governor of Michigan? Was D’Antuono moved from one partisan assignment to another, right before...

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