Trump claims Jan 6 riots and plot against Gretchen Whitmer were ‘fake’ during CPAC speech

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Donald Trump claimed during his Conservative Political Action Conference speech on Saturday that the Jan 6 riots at the US Capitol and the alleged 2020 right-wing militia scheme to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer were both “fake” government plots.

“The sting that they did involving Gretchen Whitmer was fake, just like those who instigated January 6,” Mr Trump said. “It was a fake deal, fake. It was a fake deal.”

“Gretchen Whitmer was in less danger than the people sitting in this room right now it seems to me,” Mr Trump added.

According to prosecutors in Michigan, plotters sought to kidnap the Michigan governor and discussed stranding her on a boat or killing her.

The four alleged plotters temporarily escaped prosecution in April, when two were acquitted and a mistrial was declared for the remaining defendants.

In June, a federal judge ordered a new trial for two of the alleged plotters.

The government’s case against the alleged conspirators did rely in part on the testimony of a federal informant and prominent conservatives and defence lawyers for the alleged militiamen argued they were weekend warriors coaxed by the government into a plot they were never serious about.

As for Jan 6, the former president and numerous other prominent Republican media and political figures have claimed that an Arizona man named Ray Epps was a goverment informant who encouraged rioters to storm the Capitol.

Ryan Samsel, a Pennsylvania barber who was filmed having a whispered conversation with Mr Epps on January 6, told the FBI that Mr Epps had in fact encouraged him not to attack police.

“He came up to me and he said, ‘Dude’ — his entire words were, ‘Relax, the cops are doing their job,’” Mr Samsel said, according to a recording obtained by The New York Times.

Mr Epps has denied being a federal informant, and has cooperated with the Jan 6 committee.