Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the FBI and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Federal and state officials revealed on Thursday that they had stopped a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, unsealing charges against 13 people who they say were involved in various plans to attack law enforcement, overthrow the government and ignite a civil war.
The plotters, according to an FBI affidavit; seemed to be motivated at least in part by their belief that state governments, including Michigan’s local governments were violating the Constitution. One of those involved complained in June that Whitmer (D) was controlling the opening of gyms an apparent reference to coronavirus shutdown restrictions and others were involved in a militia group that had contemplated targeting police in their homes, authorities said. They trained together with firearms and experimented with explosives, authorities said.
But unbeknownst to them, the FBI had confidential informants recording many of their meetings and discussions. Before they could attack, law enforcement moved in, arresting some as they pooled money for more explosives, officials said. Six of those were charged federally, and the rest were charged in state court, though officials announced the cases together.
The arrests come as federal and local law enforcement are particularly attuned to the possibility of politically motivated violence in the final month before the election. The FBI is investigating potential domestic terrorists around the country and are trying to determine whether any of those people are planning acts of violence before or after the election, according to law enforcement officials who are speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing investigations.
In an afternoon news conference, Whitmer defended the restrictions she imposed saying she had made “tough choices to keep our state safe” while taking direct aim at Trump. Just last week, she noted, the president had, during a debate, “refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups” and told one far right group to “stand back and stand by.”
Trump tweeted on Thursday that Whitmer had “done a terrible job” and chastised her for not offering gratitude for federal law enforcement foiling the plot against her even though she had thanked the U.S. attorneys involved in the case and praised the FBI agents as “fearless.”
Officials announcing the charges hinted at the nation’s toxic political climate though they did not single out Trump.
“All of us in Michigan can disagree about politics,” said Matthew Schneider, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. “But those disagreements should never, ever amount to violence.”
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) condemned the suspects on Twitter, writing, “A threat against our Governor is a threat against us all. We condemn those who plotted against her and our government. They are not patriots. There is no honor in their actions. They are criminals and traitors, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”