A group of men were charged with plotting to kidnap a leading US politician whose coronavirus lockdown was blasted by Donald Trump.
The FBI announced they had busted two separate plots against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday, and said they had arrested 13 men in connection with both alleged missions.
Six of the men were charged with plotting to kidnap Whitmer at her vacation home after claiming she had ‘uncontrolled power,’ to shut down the state during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a criminal complaint.
The six defendants in the holiday home abduction plot have been named as Adam Fox, 37, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta, documents said.
In April, Donald Trump was blasted for tweeting ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ in what many interpreted as a call for his supporters to disobey the state’s lockdown measures.
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Trump also tweeted out the ‘Liberate’ message to Minnesota and Virginia, with many seeing this as a call to arms to his supporters. All states he targeted have governors from the rival Democrat party.
It is not clear if these tweets had any effect on the defendents in the plot against Whitmer.
The group of men held a meeting in July where the men discussed ‘attacking a Michigan State Police facility, and shooting up the Governor’s vacation home,’ authorities said.
Fox discussed kidnapping Whitmer to an informant and allegedly told him to ‘just grab the bitch.’
‘Snatch and grab,’ Fox said. ‘Grab the fucking governor. Because at that point, we do that dude, it’s over.’
Meanwhile, another separate group of seven people were charged plotting to target law enforcement and attacking the state Capitol building in Lansing.
Those suspects, who have not yet been named, are linked to a militia group called Wolverine Watchmen. They were also were suspected of targeting homes of law enforcement, and ‘made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war.’
At least one member of the group was involved in the Second Amendment rally at the Michigan statehouse in June, which saw armed, mostly white protesters flood the Capitol building with guns.
Whitmer, a Democrat, beat a Republican by nearly 10 percent to be elected governor in 2018.
Whitmer has responded to the new plot allegation and blamed Trump for “fomenting anger, and giving comfort to those who spread fear, hatred, and division.
She added that the president ‘refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups. Stand back and stand by, he told them.’
Trump was critical of Whitmer’s lockdown of Michigan during coronavirus and tweeted that her constituents seem to be angry.
‘The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire,’ Trump said. ‘These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.’
FBI said there does not seem to be any imminent threat posed to Whitmer as of Thursday, documents said.