United States federal and state officials have charged thirteen persons in an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
According to a federal criminal complaint, the alleged scheme included plans to overthrow several state governments that the suspects “believe are violating the US Constitution,” including the government of Michigan and Whitmer.
Federal officials charged six people with conspiracy to kidnap, and state officials charged seven other people, associated with the militia group “Wolverine Watchmen,” as announced by Michigan Attorney General, Dana Nessel.
“The individuals in (state) custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war, and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan,” Nessel said at a press conference.
In an interview on CNN Thursday night, Whitmer thanked law enforcement for making the arrests.
“This is unlike anything we have seen before. The brave men and women of these two police organizations put their lives on the line to keep me and my family safe,” she said.
In televised remarks on Thursday, Whitmer specifically blamed US President Donald Trump for the scheme.
“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 Michigan militia groups,” the governor said.
“‘Stand back and stand by,’ he told them. ‘Stand back and stand by.’ Hate groups heard the President’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.”
Responding, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Whitmer is “sowing division.”
“President Trump has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate,” McEnany said in a statement to CNN.
The six charged by the federal government are Michigan residents Adam Fox, 37, Ty Garbin, 24, Kaleb Franks, 26, Daniel Harris, 23, Brandon Caserta, 32, and Delaware resident Barry Croft, 44.
The seven people charged by the state are Paul Bellar, 21, Shawn Fix, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, Michael Null, 38, William Null, 38, Pete Musico, 42, Joseph Morrison, 42. They face a variety of firearm and terror charges.