09 October 2020 02:38

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Gretchen Whitmer news live: Latest updates as Michigan governor condemns Trump and kidnap plot foiled

Thirteen men including seven from a right-wing militia known as Wolverine Watchmen have been arrested over two alleged plots to kidnap Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and incite a 'civil war'. They have been named as Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta and 24-year-old Ty Garbin. The FBI says they conspired to kidnap Whitmer at her family's vacation home in Michigan. Another seven men have been charged by Attorney General Dana Nessell for allegedly plotting to overthrow governments, attack the Michigan State Capitol and incite a 'civil war'. Those seven men are members of a militia known as Wolverine Watchmen, one of multiple known militia groups in Michigan.

On Thursday, Whitmer said she was shocked by the 'depraved' and 'sick' plot. She also blamed the men's hatred on Trump, who she said had spent the last seven months 'stoking division'. Adam Fox (L) and Brandon Caserta (R) are among the 13 militia men charged over the plots Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer (at a press conference on Thursday) called the men 'sick and depraved' The men were all referred to as extremists on Thursday at a press conference where FBI agents and prosecutors shared details of the plot. According to authorities, the first group of men started plotting in early June, carried out surveillance on her home and practiced shooting and combat drills. The FBI discovered the plot through an informant who is also part of a known militia that the men tried to recruit from as part of a wider effort to 'take' the state capitol with 200 people.

In one of the alleged meetings, he talked about kidnapping Whitmer as she made her way into her vacation home, and told one of the other men: 'Grab the f***** Governor. The alleged plot began with a meeting where the men discussed forming their own 'self-sufficient' society in early June. 'At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the US Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer,' the FBI affidavit claimed. The men then tried to recruit members of the Michigan militia group to help, the affidavit claims. In one phone call that the FBI informant recorded on June 14, Fox said he needed 200 men to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages including the Governor.

Whitmer and her husband's vacation home in Michigan, where the group had carried out surveillance At that meeting, the men discussed using 'Molotov cocktails' to attack police and take the Capitol Building. 'Just last week, the President of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two militia groups. On June 25, Fox live streamed a video on a closed Facebook group where he ranted about Whitmer, calling her a 'tyrant b***h'. On June 28, Fox, his girlfriend, Garbin, Franks and Caserta attended a training exercise in Munich, Michigan, at one of the Militia member's houses. On July 18, some of the men met again in Ohio and discussed attacking a Michigan State Police facility.

Garbin then discussed 'shooting up' Whitmer's vacation home. That day, he also said he did not want to go after the Capitol but was 'cool' with trying to kidnap her from her vacation home. On July 27, Fox told the informant that their best chance of kidnapping Whitmer would be as she was arriving or leaving her vacation home or the Governor's summer residence. On Thursday, Whitmer responded to the plot at a press conference where she appeared to blame the men's antics on Donald Trump, one of her most vocal critics. She called the men 'sick and depraved' and said now is a time for 'unity' and not 'more division.' The Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, also said Trump was to blame for the plot.

Whitmer was widely condemned in Michigan for enforcing a lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19. Asked if he thought Trump's 'LIBERATE MICHIGAN' tweet encouraged militias like this, he said 'yes I do.' There were widespread protests in the state by people who said they wanted the right to continue to work, including by some who stormed the state capitol with guns. On Thursday morning, three hours before the FBI announcement, Trump called Whitmer the 'lockdown queen,' having previously called her 'that woman from Michigan.' He told Fox Business News' Maria Bartiromo: 'I won Michigan, which hadn't been won in decades and decades. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer linked a plot to kidnap her to President Donald Trump, arguing Thursday in a speech hours after arrests were announced that Trump's words had been a "rallying cry" for extremists. 13 right-wing militia members have been arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. 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. Adam Fox is charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home. 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.' Meanwhile, another separate group of seven people were charged plotting to target law enforcement and attacking the state Capitol building in Lansing. 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. A massive group of protesters came to the Michigan Capitol building in June to protest Governor Whitmer's coronavirus lockdown restrictions, amid claims one group of men plotted to kidnap her (Photo: Reuters) 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. 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. In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. The governor delivered remarks addressing Michiganders after the Michigan Attorney General, Michigan State Police, U.S. Department of Justice, and FBI announced state and federal charges against 13 members of two militia groups who were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill the governor. Hours after police foiled an alleged plot to kidnap her, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer argued in a speech Thursday that President Donald Trump's words had been a "rallying cry" for extremists. Whitmer, a Democrat, said the Republican president has spent the last seven months of the coronavirus pandemic "denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division." "Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry," Whitmer said. Democrat Joe Biden sought to tie Trump to the plot as well, pointing to the president's tweet earlier this year to "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" Whitmer's coronavirus response has faced criticism from conservatives, and the GOP-led Michigan Legislature sued her in May to try to invalidate her stay-at-home order and other measures. The arrests and Whitmer's comments come less than a month before the presidential election in a key battleground state, where recent polls show Biden has a lead. 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." "President Trump has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate," she said. "Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan," she said.