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13 men charged in plot against Michigan governor

by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 10/09/20, 03:22 am

Six men conspired to buy explosives and tactical gear, capture Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, and try her for “treason,” according to a Thursday federal criminal complaint. They first considered rounding up about 200 men to storm the capitol building in Lansing before settling on a plot focused on Whitmer’s vacation home. Michigan state court separately charged seven men with the Wolverine Watch paramilitary group for planning to storm the Michigan court and seek a “civil war.” The two groups trained together.

What was the plot supposed to accomplish? The conspirators believed many state coronavirus lockdowns violated the U.S. Constitution. An FBI source quoted alleged conspirator Adam Fox saying Whitmer had exercised “uncontrolled power.” The FBI caught the six men training with firearms and conducting combat drills. Whitmer said supremacists groups viewed President Donald Trump’s lack of criticism at last week’s debate with Joe Biden as a “call to action,” although the criminal complaint does not say the conspirators were inspired by Trump. In a series of Twitter posts, Trump said he does not tolerate any extreme violence but criticized Whitmer’s response to the pandemic.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Steve West’s report in Liberties on protests over COVID-19 lockdowns.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

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Kyle Ziemnick

Kyle is a WORLD Digital news reporter. He is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Kyle resides in Purcellville, Va. Follow him on Twitter @kylezim25.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 10/08/2020 07:48 pm

    Nuts. Just totally nuts. 

  • JR
    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 07:54 am

    really do not want to deal with the fallout from this.


    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 08:57 am

    I live in Michigan, and the national narrative does not reflect reality. We are not "shut down." Whitmer's orders have exempted churches from the beginning, unlike the orders from many Republican governors. Unfortunately, she annoyed the President early on, and we've become a national story. I have heard rhetoric from seemingly level headed people, for example...
    "The founding fathers rebelled over less." 
    "I'm not getting on the cattle car."

    My conservative friends truly believe this is the crisis that will usher in Communism in America.
    I'm not surprised that some genuine nutcases took their beliefs to the next level.

  • JR
    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 09:27 am

    Hmm, some of the orders were absurd and churches were not exempted from the beginning (early on yes, but not from the beginning) so I disagree with you on that. I do agree that we are not currently shut down. I tend to think that many of the complaints are valid but some of the responses have been bad. Obviously this story is a bit beyond “bad”.

    We do need to be able to call out bad behavior from politicians and challenge it without stepping outside the bounds of the law or common decency. If we let those entrusted with protecting and enforcing the law undermine it we are failing our duty as citizens, however if we use overcharged rhetoric instead of using the systems built into the law for these problems again we have failed. Being a responsible citizen requires time and effort.

    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 10:15 am

    JR, not a Sunday went by in Michigan that places of worship were subject to penalty. The original executive order, issued, I think on March 16 or 17, was amended the same week to exempt churches from penalty. Throughout the pandemic, every executive order that would have applied to churches included language exempting them, even the mask order. Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump (and I'm sure others) have claimed she shut down churches, but it just is not true.

    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 09:54 am

    And, JR, to be clear, I think Whitmer is a terrible governor on many levels. I appreciate that she took COVID seriously, but don't completely like the way she went about it. But she basically did what many governors did, and she's gotten singled out in a way they haven't. 

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 03:43 pm

    "My conservative friends truly believe this is the crisis that will usher in Communism in America."

    That ship has sailed. There have been agents working in this country for over a hundred years. While the effects have ebbed and flowed, the overall trend is in their favor. As Bernie, an avowed Socialist, recently put it "what was once considered radical is now mainstream." Former Gov. Kasich assures us that Joe Biden will be a moderate in office but the Democratic party is filled with young, aggressive, hardcore Leftists. Can Mr. Biden control them? Does he even want to control them?

  •  HeJets's picture
    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 09:10 am

    We fought a Revolutionary war against tyranny. Resulted in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Years later, it’s the same only from within. We have people in authority openly arguing against the Constitution and operating outside the law and their authority. Another revolution is underway. With not much effectively challenging them, of course some will be frustrated enough to take action.

    Since the socialists and fascists are saying it out loud, those that value free speech, religious freedom and life itself better speak out loud too.

    The Church sitting this one out: Not a good look. Not a loving ministry or evangelical plan or to worship opportunity. A weak and lukewarm faith picture comes to mind. 

    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 10:15 am

    "Of course some will be frustrated enough to take action"?

    Sorry, there is no excuse for using kidnapping and/or murdering the governor. The state government, all three branches, is functioning. The "dictator" governor just signed a budget passed by the Republican house and senate. The Republican-dominated Supreme Court just ruled against Whitmer. Our legal system and political system is working fine.

    Why are BLM protestors, who are protesting literal murder by police officers, wrong when they break the law, but right-wing anarchist nuts are "frustrated enough to take action"?

    Fact is, we have a political system that works. We need to stop trying to force our agenda and start trying to persuade again.


  • BF
    Posted: Fri, 10/09/2020 10:46 pm

    If this news article from The Federalist is correct, the potential kidnappers were actually anarchists.