What’s Come Out About The Plot To Kidnap Gov. Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Oct. 8, 2020. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

“Tyrants Get The Rope”

New details emerge in kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer 

Whitmer blames Trump after FBI ‘foils plot’ to kidnap Michigan governor

Oct 10, 2020

Fox News – The militia group plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hatched their plan — which included firebombing police vehicles — in the basement of a vacuum store in Grand Rapids, according to news reports.

Six men were arrested by the FBI on Wednesday and charged with attempting to kidnap the governor, while seven others tied to the scheme were arrested and charged with state terrorism threats targetting law enforcement officers.

Whitmer has thanked law enforcement for foiling the plot but criticized President Trump for inciting violence.

“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,” Whitmer, a Democrat, said during a Thursday news conference. “Stand back and stand by, he told them.”

Since early 2020, the six men – Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta – had been allegedly plotting to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home before Nov. 3, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The men had been in communication on social media and met in the basement of a vacuum store in Grand Rapids.

The owner, Brian Titus, told Fox News on Friday that he knew Fox, the 37-year-old leader of the operation, was part of a militia group and attended rallies in Lansing, but nothing beyond that.

“I’ve been trying to tell him to get out of the militia because you’re wasting your time. … You need to get out,” Titus said. “Of course, he didn’t listen. He got involved with some radicals.”

Titus told the Free Press that he had known Fox since he was a kid … Read more.

Whitmer Plotter Pardoned By Dem. Gov. In 2019 

Oct 10, 2020

The Hill – Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) last year signed the pardon of one of the men accused this week of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), the Delaware News Journal first reported.

Carney in April 2019 signed off on the pardon for Barry Gordon Croft Jr., who faced a series of charges in Delaware during the mid-1990s, including possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, assault, and burglary.

A spokesman for Carney said in a statement that the governor called Croft’s federal charges “disturbing” and called for everyone involved with the kidnapping plot in Michigan to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“This is also another warning sign about the growing threat of violence and radicalization in our politics,” Carney said.

The pardon had been recommended by the five-person Delaware Board of Pardons. The outlet noted that the details of Croft’s hearing are unclear because no minutes were recorded.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D), who chairs the board, said in a statement to the News Journal that pardons are recommended to the governor based on several factors, including “the position of the Department of Justice, the nature of the incident(s), the time lapsed from the last conviction, and the impact on employment and housing.”

Mat Marshall, a spokesman for Attorney General Kathy Jennings (D), said in a statement to the outlet that her predecessor, Matt Denn, did not oppose Croft’s pardon because his criminal record was from two decades ago.

“It appeared to everyone involved that his offenses were in his past and that he had gotten himself on the right track,” Marshall said in a statement.

Marshall added that neither state prosecutors nor the Board of Pardons would have endorsed Croft’s pardon had they known “what the future held.” Read more. 

“Republicans grew tired of Whitmer’s nearly unilateral control … “

Oct 10, 2020 |

NPR – In mid-April, thousands of citizens gridlocked the Michigan state Capitol for miles, unleashing a cacophony of noisemakers and car horns for nearly seven hours protesting Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.

“Operation Gridlock” was dotted with red “Make American Great Again” hats and yellow “Live Free or Die” flags.

President Trump cheered the protesters on, tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

Despite polls showing long-standing approval of Whitmer’s handling of the coronavirus, she faced loathsome criticism at protests like these staged by conservative political groups and tacitly supported by Republicans in the state Legislature.

And at the same time, Whitmer’s political star was rising. She earned a national reputation and a place on Democrat’s vice presidential shortlist for her management of the COVID-19 crisis in Michigan …

Protest at Michigan State Capitol, April 30, 2020 | Image: Twitter via The Guardian

“Republicans grew tired of Whitmer’s nearly unilateral control … “

Under her leadership, Michigan moved from the state with the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in April, to the bottom third in October.

As spring lingered on and other states began to ease restrictions, Whitmer continued to extend the state of emergency in Michigan.

Over time, protests shrunk in size and attracted strong anti-Whitmer and misogynist sentiment.

Signs like “tyrants get the rope,” “Ditch the Witch” and “Heil Whitler” began to appear alongside Confederate flags and calls to “Let us free from tyranny.”

Then, on April 30, the governor extended the state of emergency again, without approval from the Republican-controlled Legislature, and heavily armed protesters stood over lawmakers in the state Senate gallery as they debated what to do about it.

In early May, Republicans grew tired of Whitmer’s nearly unilateral control and decided to sue, arguing she was violating the Michigan constitution.

“I can tell you straight up that I do not know how decisions are being made in that executive office. That curtain has been closed for a long time,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey … Read more. 

How social media played a critical role in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot

Detroit Free Press – The 13 men charged Thursday in a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used Facebook and secure messaging apps to connect and plot their attack.

The group’s use of Facebook spans almost a full year. Members began to use the social media platform as a recruitment tool in November 2019, according to an affidavit filed by Brian Russell, a detective sergeant with the Michigan State Police.

“Once recruited, members communicated via a secure, encrypted messaging platform,” Russell wrote.

The group of 13 men, members or associates of the militia group known as the Wolverine Watchmen, used Facebook and at least two encrypted messaging platforms to plan their attack and to share videos, photos and posts, according to the criminal complaint on file in the U.S. District Court that details the FBI’s investigation into the conspiracy … 

Top row from left: Adam Fox, Daniel Harris, Kaleb Franks, Ty Garbin and Eric Molitor.
Second row from left: Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison, Brandon Caserta, William Null and Michael Null
Third row from left: Shawn Fix, Paul Bellar and Barry Croft

The Free Press reviewed social media posts belonging to Brandon Caserta and Pete Musico, two of the men charged in the conspiracy, and found that they used online platforms to share anti-government and anti-police viewpoints in line with the “boogaloo,” a right-wing movement trying to start a second civil war that has grown primarily through utilizing online platforms, including Facebook, Reddit and YouTube.

Several members of the group appeared to have shared videos, memes and posts online expressing anti-police sentiment and a desire to combat government overreach.

Their use of social media likely facilitated the group’s growth, experts say. “This was on the larger side of what we call small cells,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University San Bernardino.

All face charges related to what the FBI says was a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer … Read more. 

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