whitmer-will-deliver-prepared-remarks-at-3-pm.-et

Whitmer will deliver prepared remarks at 3 p.m. ET

Science
1 hr 14 min ago

Whitmer will deliver prepared remarks at 3 p.m.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deliver prepared remarks this afternoon following an FBI announcement of an alleged plot to kidnap her.

According to a federal criminal complaint, six men were charged Thursday in the alleged plot.

Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were charged in the Western District of Michigan with conspiracy to kidnap.

1 hr 10 min ago

Group of men conducted surveillance on the governor’s vacation home and planned to use a bomb as a diversion

Andrew Birge, the US Attorney of the Western District of Michigan Michigan US Attorney’s Office

Andrew Birge, the US Attorney of the Western District of Michigan, said law enforcement worked together to make sure elected leaders are protected and the men arrested in the plot face up to life in prison if convicted.

“All of us standing here today, want the public to know that 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,” Birge said during a news briefing on Thursday.

Birge said the men used security measures like “communicating by encrypted message platforms” and using code words to avoid being detected by law enforcement.

“Among the activities, members of the conspiracy on two occasions conducted coordinated surveillance on the governor’s vacation home,” Birge said, adding that the men discussed “detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area of the home.”

Birge said the complaint also indicated that one of the men “purchased a taser for use in the kidnapping and that the group successfully detonated an improvised explosive device wrapped with shrapnel to test its anti-personnel capabilities.”

1 hr 19 min ago

Michigan State Police official: “This case is one of the largest” we’ve had lately

Michigan US Attorney’s Office

Col. Joseph Gasper, with the Michigan State Police, said this case is one of the largest his department his been involved in lately.

“This case is one of the largest cases in recent history that the MSP has been involved in, and I think that the nature of this case is rather unprecedented,” he said at a news conference.

He added that while US may be in a “period of discourse,” right now, law officials are united.

“But it does send a very vivid reminder that while we may be in a time period of discourse — possibly even divisiveness and fighting across the nation — law enforcement stands united,” he said.

He continued:

“And for those who think that law enforcement is distracted, let me assure you that we are very much engaged with taking our responsibility to protect the public very seriously. We took an oath to protect and defend and to serve, and together we will take swift action against anyone who is planning or seeking to commit violence or harm to anyone in the state of Michigan.”

1 hr 21 min ago

Michigan senate majority leader: “A threat against our Governor is a threat against us all”

From CNN’s Kristina Sgueglia

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey condemned the threat against the state’s governor Thursday, saying “a threat against our Governor is a threat against us all.”

His statement comes as six men were charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Read his full statement:

“A threat against our Governor is a threat against us all. We condemn the actions of the group of individuals that plotted against Governor Whitmer and state government. These people 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. 

Citizens who care about government show their passion by voting. Only terrorists resort to violence. We extend our gratitude to the men and women in law enforcement for their work to thwart this plan and reach a safe conclusion. The Governor and her family are in our thoughts in prayers.”

1 hr 30 min ago

Court appearances set for men accused in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

From CNN’s Katelyn Polantz

The five defendants arrested by the FBI yesterday will make an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Sally Berens at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The sixth defendant is not expected to be in court today. The five defendants are expected to appear in person.

1 hr 24 min ago

Feds charge 6 men accused in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

From CNN’s Christina Carrega

Six men were charged Thursday in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were charged in the Western District of Michigan with conspiracy to kidnap.

The FBI became aware through a social media group of individuals that were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components, according to the criminal complaint.

“Through electronic communications, Croft and Fox agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the US Constitution” including Whitmer, according to the complaint. 

Court documents say the FBI planted a confidential informant to travel to Dublin, Ohio, on June 6 for a meeting with Croft, Fox and about 13 others.

“They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions … Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” according to the complaint.

At one point during the meeting, the group discussed increasing its members and Fox reached out to a “Michigan base militia group,” according to the complaint.

By June 14, a second confidential informant confirmed that Fox was introduced to the leader of the militia group and they met in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The informant audio recorded conversations with Fox where he said he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, and take hostages, including Whitmer, according to the criminal complaint.” 

Fox explained they would try the Governor of Michigan for “treason,” and he said they would execute the plan before the November 2020 elections, according to the criminal complaint.

On June 20, Fox, Garbin and others met at Fox’s business in Grand Rapids where attendees met in the basement to turn over their cell phones that would be placed in a trap door hidden under a rug on the main floor, according to the criminal complaint.

“The attendees discussed plans for assaulting the Michigan State Capitol, countering law enforcement first responders, and using ‘Molotov cocktails’ to destroy police vehicles. The attendees also discussed plans for an additional meeting during the first weekend of July when they also would conduct firearms and tactical training,” according to the criminal complaint.