On the heels of a new report from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz saying the “Justice” Department has a problem with public trust and the perception that they are partisan –- surprise! –- the FBI has just taken actions in Mesa County, Colorado, that reinforce that view.
In what is likely the most outrageous and underreported story of the week, the FBI conducted simultaneous early-morning raids Tuesday on at least four people, including Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters –- an outspoken critic of the 2020 election –- and three of her associates. These heavy-handed raids against nonviolent people involved armed agents in combat militia-style gear, the use of handcuffs, and, in at least one case, a battering ram.
One reason for the media’s hesitance to cover this might be that it emerged via the TV channel of “My Pillow Guy” Mike Lindell, who is generally seen in the media as having cooties and absolutely will not be taken seriously no matter how valid a story he breaks. He did interviews with two of the women, Peters and “America’s Mom” Sheronna Bishop. Lindell already knew both of them, as they had participated in his on-air election integrity symposium in August and had reportedly even flown in on his private plane.
The first write-up we saw in print media was at conservative WVW Broadcast Network, which told the story of a raid conducted early Tuesday morning at the home of Bishop, a concerned Christian mom who has become an activist on issues such as Critical Race Theory and forced masking in schools. (She’s homeschooling her kids.) When we first read about this, we suspected the raid on her house probably had something to do with Attorney General Merrick Garland’s dictate that parents who get angry at school board meetings should be dealt with like domestic terrorists. (Garland denied this policy before Congress, but we now know he was not being truthful.)
But the target on her back seems to have more to do with her association with Peters, who is on extremely bad terms with Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Peters has apparently been under investigation over allegations of leaking election data, and the search warrant authorized confiscation of her phones and cyber devices.
Brannon Howse conducted the TV interview with Peters on Tuesday, with additional guest cybersecurity expert Sean Smith. In the interview, she explains about the four raids carried out that morning on her and “some of her friends,” saying that one of them indeed had involved a battering ram. Apparently that was the raid at Bishop’s house; Bishop has said her front door was broken down.
Peters said at the time of this interview that the affidavit for her search was still sealed and that she didn’t know what the “probable cause” was. Here’s the interview in full.
(SIDE NOTE: At about 38:30 in this video, there’s a phenomenal 6-minute clip of several former FBI agents who are appalled at this new abuse-of-force approach by the FBI against non-violent targets such as Roger Stone. One of them said that if he’d been on a S.W.A.T. team and ordered to do that raid at Stone’s house, he would have refused. That’s the kind of FBI agents we need; too bad so many of them are of the generation that's now retiring from the Bureau.)
Anyway, Peters says that since she started looking into the results of the 2020 election in Mesa County --- she claims that 29,000 election records were illegally deleted --- she's been attacked "on every front" and is facing civil litigation and huge legal bills. She says this raid is obviously an intimidation tactic aimed at the larger community.
In Bishop’s interview with Howse, which debuted Thursday on Lindell TV, she says the agents were likewise armed and in combat gear, that they treated her and her daughters roughly and that she was handcuffed for about 30 minutes. (Peters was not handcuffed.) The agents were in Bishop’s house for about three hours.
Bishop is a former campaign manager for conservative Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert. She describes herself as a “very strong supporter” of Peters.
In the interview, she reads from the search warrant, which authorized them to confiscate her phones and other cyber equipment, alleging that she caused "intentional damage of a protected computer" --- "I have no contact with a computer," she says --- "wire fraud" --- "they couldn't explain to me what that even meant" -- and "conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a protected computer and/or commit wire fraud." It also listed the names of the others who were being searched, including Peters. She says all she has done is exercise her First Amendment freedom to be an advocate for Peters, whom she claims has "hard evidence" about Colorado officials and Dominion Voting Systems, and that they’re trying to make her go away and be quiet. She says officials who are "running Colorado" are criminalizing free speech.
She says she has made herself completely available to officials and that there was no reason other than intimidation for them to treat her and her family this way.
Here’s the link to her TV interview.
We’ve seen a few reports of the raids in mainstream media, but they focus not on the violation of civil liberties –- since when do Trump supporters have civil liberties? –- but on allegations that Mesa County election results were allegedly leaked to some “QAnon conspiracy theorists.”
It’s impossible to sort out all the accusations and counter-accusations going on in Mesa County. We just find it interesting that this angle from THE DAILY BEAST doesn’t address the FBI’s intimidating use of force against non-violent targets. The DB also reflexively calls the hypothesis that the 2020 election was stolen “a baseless idea.” That is wrong; it’s not proven, but it’s certainly not baseless.
Another outlet, TALKING POINTS MEMO, describes Peters as “a Trumpy Colorado county clerk already under investigation” and identifies the QAnon personality as Ron Watkins, “a right-wing influencer that many believe to be behind the posts that spurred the QAnon conspiracy theory,” according to reporter Matt Shuham. The armed raids are characterized by a Mesa County spokesperson as “four federally court-authorized operations into potential criminal activity.” All documents related to these “operations” are apparently still sealed.
We can’t say this investigation is being carried out to take focus off what Peters might have FOUND regarding the voting machine data. But we can’t say it isn’t, either.
That’s the story so far. We’ll leave you with an outstanding companion piece by Victor Davis Hanson called “Can the FBI Be Salvaged?” that lists many familiar examples of the FBI overstepping, lying, leaking, colluding, hushing-up, setting-up, intimidating, witch-hunting, infiltrating, improperly surveilling, abusing, withholding evidence and more.
He should add these armed raids in Mesa County to his list.