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On Thursday evening on Fox News, Mr Carlson addressed the reaction he sparked by the claim that the FBI were involved in the deadly attempted coup at the Capitol on 6 January. Five people died, including protesters and a member of law enforcement.
“Well, there’s been an enormous amount of hyperventilating in Washington over a segment we did two nights ago in which we pointed out that there were pretty clearly a number of people in the crowd at Capitol who had had previous contact with the FBI about what was going to happen that day.”
Media Matters for America called it a “bizarre conspiracy theory” and people online expressed their confusion at the claims. When Mr Carlson originally made the claims, he cited his source as a report by Revolver News, a news site run by a former Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie. He was let go due to his association with a white supremacist.
Mr Carlson went on, “If that happened, and we believe it did happen, it would not be out of character for the FBI. It they’ve done things very much like that before, that is beyond dispute.”
“But in this case, they are disputing it,” MrCarlson said. “Not the FBI, they haven’t said a word. But the obedient minions of the national security state who run the social media accounts of The New York Times and the occupy the anchor desks at CNN, they became hysterical when we mention it.”
He went to say that he wasn’t “allowed” to make the claim.
Mr Carlson’s words were met with nearly universal condemnation, to which he responded: “We won’t shut up, and we shouldn’t.”
Legal experts went on record to debunk the claims, including Tulane University Law professor Ross Garber, who told CNN that Mr Carlson’s claim “makes the erroneous assumption that unindicted co-conspirators are government agents.” He continued, “Federal agents acting within the scope of their duties are never considered unindicted co-conspirators because by definition they aren’t conspiring with the alleged bad guys.”
Lisa Kern Griffin of Duke University Law School also disputed Mr Carlson’s claim.
“Undercover officers and informants can’t be ‘co-conspirators’ for the purposes of establishing an agreement to violate the law, because they are only pretending to agree to do so,” she explained to The Washington Post. “An unindicted co-conspirator has committed the crime of conspiracy, and investigative agents doing their jobs undercover are not committing crimes,” Griffin continued.
The Department of Justice’s website outlines its policy, which reads: “In the absence of some significant justification, federal prosecutors generally should not identify unindicted co-conspirators in conspiracy indictments.”
Mr Carlson said that government was “hiding something” and that he had questions that he felt had not been answered. This is despite Mr Carlson previously stating a commission to investigate into the events that took place during the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory would be a “complete farce” last month.
Supporters of Mr Carlson’s theory included Republican congressional representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.