Whitmer’s family had to be “moved around” for safety due to alleged kidnapping plot, Michigan AG says

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was “aware of things that were happening” surrounding an alleged militia plot to kidnap her and violently overthrow the state government, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Friday. Nessel spoke to “CBS This Morning” just a day after investigators announced they unraveled the plan. 

“We’ve been consistently updating the governor as events occurred over the course of the last couple of months,” Nessel said Friday. “At times, she and her family had been moved around, as a result of activities that, you know, law enforcement was aware of.”

Investigators say the alleged plot was supposed to be set in motion in the days leading up to the election. A group of suspected militia members, including two people who were part of an armed protest against Whitmer’s coronavirus safety measures at the state capitol in April, allegedly planned to kidnap Whitmer at her vacation home. 

At one point, officials say one of the suspects wanted to recruit 200 men to help storm the Michigan capital and take hostages, including Whitmer. 

Nessel said the suspects came close enough to executing the plan that law enforcement had to move in “before anybody lost their lives.”

“They had all the means to do it. They had been in training exercises. We think they had the necessary equipment — artillery, explosives, things of that nature. And we thought the trainings had gone on long enough,” she said. 

Whitmer blamed President Trump’s rhetoric for “stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division” in a speech Thursday, and called his words a “rallying cry” for hate groups. 

Mr. Trump responded in a series of tweets condemning “extreme violence,” but also blasting Whitmer for not saying “thank you” after taking credit for his “Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement” for foiling the “dangerous plot.”

Nessel called the president’s past comments attacking Whitmer’s lockdown and encouraging her to negotiate with armed protesters “very unhelpful.” She said that Mr. Trump’s words served as a “rallying cry for these types of organizations and these types of individuals who are very bad actors.”

“I can’t imagine seeing people who behave in that manner and then encouraging them, and then in fact indicating that our governor should negotiate with them,” Nessel said. “I think that’s fundamentally unhelpful from a law enforcement perspective.”

The attorney general said she expects further charges linked to the case as the investigation continues. 

“We have a task force, and there are a lot of groups that we’ve been looking at and a lot of individuals we’ve been looking at,” she said. “Do I expect further charges related to this series of groups that seem to be operating together, not just in the state of Michigan but across several states and many jurisdictions? Yes I do.” 

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