GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Accused conspirators charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also discussed “taking” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, an FBI agent testified at a court hearing Tuesday.
During the hearing here in Grand Rapids to discuss the charges filed last week against members of a self-proclaimed militia accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, FBI Special Agent Richard Trask revealed that months ago some of the suspects met in Dublin, Ohio, where Northam, also a Democrat, was discussed as a potential target.
“At this meeting they discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governors of Michigan and Virginia, based upon the lockdown orders,” Trask told the court, referring to state-mandated restrictions implemented to combat the spread of coronavirus.
The FBI revealed Thursday that it thwarted a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, unsealing charges against six people who it said contemplated a violent overthrow of the government and conducted firearms training, tested explosives and tactical drills.
The plotters, according to an FBI affidavit, seemed to be motivated by their belief that state governments, including Michigan’s, 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 shut down restrictions. But unbeknown to them, the FBI had confidential informants recording many of their discussions, according to the affidavit.
President Trump has been publicly critical of Michigan’s leaders over the state-imposed measures to stem to spread of coronavirus, tweeting in April, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN.”
Federal and state authorities are scheduled to have a news conference on the charges at 1 p.m., and Whitmer is expected to deliver a statement at 3 p.m.