The Plot to Kidnap Gov. Whitmer: What We Know Right Now
Thirteen men are facing charges, accused of coming up with a violent plan to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, attack police, and overthrow parts of the government.
Police call it an elaborate plan from members of a Michigan-based extremist group.
Part of the massive operation brought federal agents to Northern Michigan. Those agents detailed their findings in a 16 page report that says the group held its first meeting in June. 9&10 News has looked over the court documents in this case, and many of the details are downright shocking.
The extremists were apparently upset with the governor’s COVID-19 response.
The report says the group set up a plan to kidnap the governor before the November election, held firearm training, and built improvised explosive devices in Luther and Cadillac.
It also says they surveyed the governor’s vacation home near Elk Rapids, where they were planning on it all unfolding.
When the FBI became aware of this group’s intentions, undercover agents were sent to infiltrate their meetings.
A statewide raid happened Wednesday night to arrest members of the group. Hundreds of state police troopers and FBI agents were involved. Read a breakdown of the charges against all 13 here.
In a press conference Thursday, Attorney General Dana Nessel called this plot serious and credible.
“Our efforts uncovered elaborate plans to endanger the lives of law enforcement officers government officials into the broader public the multi-front operation to apprehend the suspects in question was carefully coordinated and skillfully executed resulting very fortunately in no casualties.”
One of those raids was in Cadillac, and nearby residents got a look at some of the manpower used to arrest three men allegedly involved in the plot.
Three of the extremists were arrested on a property in Cadillac Wednesday night.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield tweeted that violence has no place in politics, and the people who targeted Gov. Whitmer are un-American.
The state Senate was in session Thursday and other issues quickly took the backburner to this breaking news. Here’s what senators on both sides of the aisle had to say.
While there is nothing in the court documents to suggest the men were inspired by President Trump, Gov. Whitmer said the extremists heard the president’s words in April to “liberate Michigan” as a call to action.
The president responded to the governor’s suggestion by saying she has done a terrible job of handling the COVID-19 response in Michigan, while Joe Biden echoed the governor’s claim that the president’s words are fanning the flames of extremism. Read more of what both said here.
Gov. Whitmer took time to address the state Thursday.
She said, “I knew this job would be hard but I’ll be honest, I never imagined anything like this.”
The governor thanked law enforcement and said she hopes each person involved will be brought to justice.
“As a mom with two teenage daughters and three stepsons, my husband and I are eternally grateful to everyone who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our family safe. 2020 has been a hard year for all of us. Hard for our doctors and nurses. Truck drivers and grocery store workers. It’s been hard for teachers and students and parents. Hard for those who have had to stay isolated to stay safe. And it’s not over yet. But here’s what I know: we are Michiganders. We have grit. We have heart. And we are tough as hell.”
U.S. Attorney General for the Western District of Michigan Andrew Birge said this is an ongoing investigation.
“Federal and state law enforcement are committed to working together to make sure violent extremists never succeed with their plans, particularly when they target our duly elected leaders.”