Michigan Governor Blames Trump After 13 Charged in Kidnap Plot

by David Eggert and Ed White


LANSING, Michigan (AP) — Agents foiled a stunning plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Thursday in announcing charges in an alleged scheme that involved months of planning and even rehearsals to snatch her from her vacation home.

Six men were charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the governor in reaction to what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power,” according to a federal complaint. Separately, seven others were charged in state court under Michigan’s anti-terrorism laws for allegedly targeting police and seeking a “civil war.”

A few hours later, Whitmer pinned some blame on President Donald Trump, noting that he did not condemn white supremacists in last week’s debate with Joe Biden and instead told a far-right group to “stand back and stand by.”

In this photo Sept. 16, 2020 file photo, provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. According to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday, Oct. 8 multiple people plotted to try to kidnap Whitmer at her vacation home. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)

“Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action,” Whitmer said. “When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.”

The six men charged in federal court plotted for months, consulting and training with members of a group that federal authorities described as a militia, and undertaking rehearsals in August and September, according to an FBI affidavit. They were arrested Wednesday night and face up to life in prison if convicted.

Four had planned Wednesday to meet to “make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear,” the FBI said in the court filing.

The FBI quoted one of the accused as saying Whitmer “has no checks and balances at all. She has uncontrolled power right now. All good things must come to an end.”

Andrew Birge, the U.S. attorney in western Michigan, called the men “violent extremists.”

“All of us in Michigan can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever amount to violence. Violence has been prevented today,” Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told reporters.

Whitmer, who was considered as Joe Biden’s running mate, has been praised but also deeply criticized by the Republican-controlled Legislature and conservatives areas of the state for Michigan’s response to the coronavirus. She put major restrictions on personal movement throughout the state and on the economy, although many of those limits have been lifted. The governor has exchanged barbs with Trump on social media, with the president declaring in April, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

He has referred to Whitmer as the “woman in Michigan.” There’s no indication in the criminal complaint that the men were inspired by Trump. Authorities also have not publicly said whether the men were angry about Whitmer’s coronavirus orders.

The Michigan Supreme Court last week ruled that a 1945 law used as the foundation for many of Whitmer’s orders was unconstitutional. The decision was 4-3, with justices who were nominated by Republicans in the majority.

The government said the plot against Whitmer was stopped with the work of undercover agents and informants.

Barriers seen blocking traffic on Moores River Drive that leads toward the cul-de-sac near the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 in Lansing, Mich. Six people plotted to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home. That’s according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP)

Whitmer thanked law enforcement for thwarting the alleged conspirators and said she hopes that convictions will bring “these sick and depraved men to justice.”

Through electronic communications, two of the alleged conspirators “agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the U.S. Constitution,” the FBI said.

The criminal complaint identified the six as Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, all of Michigan, and Barry Croft of Delaware. All but Croft appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids. They asked for court-appointed lawyers and were returned to jail to await detention hearings Tuesday.

Fox said he needed 200 men to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including the governor, according to the FBI. He said he wanted to try Whitmer for “treason” and would execute the plan before the Nov. 3 election, the government said. The group later shifted to targeting the governor’s vacation home, the FBI said.

The government said the scheme appeared to have roots in a June gathering in Dublin, Ohio, attended by more than a dozen people from several states, including Croft and Fox.

“The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient,” the FBI affidavit said. “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions. … Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor.”

In a separate but related action, state authorities announced terrorism-related charges against seven men who were said to belong to or were associated with Wolverine Watchmen, which was described as a militia group.

The seven men are accused of identifying the homes of law enforcement officers and making violent threats “intended to instigate a civil war,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

They trained for an operation to attack the Michigan Capitol and to kidnap officials, including the governor, Nessel said.

– – –

David Eggert and Ed White are reporters for The Associated Press. White reported from Detroit.

About the Headline Photo: In this March 5, 2020, file photo, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Nessel has charged seven people with plotting to target law enforcement and attack state Capitol building. The announcement comes after six others were charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in reaction to what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday , Oct. 8, 2020, in federal court. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)



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4 Thoughts to “Michigan Governor Blames Trump After 13 Charged in Kidnap Plot”

  1. Sim

    My question is,

    How much abuse of your Rights/Freedoms are required before a violent reaction is justified???
    Just where do you draw the line between being a “Patriotic Militiamen” and a “Terrorist”???

    We have seen our economy destroyed by a “LIE” that is less lethal than the normal flu viruses in order to influence the outcome of an election the Democrats didn’t believe they could win without the “LIE”.

    As Trump said early on, “The cure is more dangerous than the virus”.

    I blame Whitmer for the enemies she has made, along with all these other Governors/Politicians, rather than take the time to talk to people they have relied on the “powers of office” to enact their policies, being perceived as a “Dictator”.

    Wisconsin’s Governor want to publish a list of all companies with covid infected employees,
    Virginia wants to fine all Religious Organization who reject the Homosexual agenda,
    And Kamala Harris want to confiscate all guns.

    Democrats across the board want to “RULE BY DECREE “, rather than “Consent”.

    I’m a firm believer that a show of force goes a long way in preventing the escalation of a situation, if it doesn’t violence will soon follow.

    The Democrats win this election, the FBI won’t have enough people to investigate all the groups plotting to overthrow “THAT” government.

  2. What a joke. This modern day Broome Hilda destroys millions of lives in Michigan with medieval policies and causes massive anger. A bunch of Trump-hating, anti-cop, lunatic left anarchists decide to take matters into their own hands. And this clown of a governor blames Trump? Must be Friday.

  3. Tim Price

    This “thing” is out of her mind and is focused on pushing the liberal narrative of hate. When are the people of Michigan going to realize that she is an idiot liberal who wants to blame everyone else for the problems she has created? When are the people of American going to realize that Democrats are liberal idiots who want to blame everyone else for the problems they have created? The old line dyed in the wool Democrats are the ones who are the worst with their support for the evil freedom stealing liberals in our government.

  4. Steve Allen

    And of course Whitmer and the MSM spin this to blame President Trump and rightwing extremists. Below is a link to a twitter posting by Brandon Caserta, one of those arrested:


    He really looks like a Trump supporter to me, including the anarchist flag hanging on the wall behind him.

    Will we even make it to the election? Everyday it’s another event that is spun to make Constitutional Americans the bogie men. And Pelosi wants to invoke the 25th Amendment to dispose the President due to health reasons…..only the President’s cabinet can do that. The biased Presidential Commission on Debates decides that the next debate will be virtual. They are doing this so that Biden can wear a wire and read his replies off of the teleprompter.

    After the election, and I pray to Heaven that the President is reelected, America has to put an end to the Leftist insurrection that is taking place. The whole virus BS has to be put to bed as well. I cannot imagine what it’s like being a child in these times. Being forced to wear a mask, their schooling being torn apart, conversations at the dinner table centering on how much their parents hate President Trump, at least in Liberal families. America has to get back on the right track.