Members of anti-government paramilitary groups talked about kidnapping Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam during a June 6 meeting, an FBI agent revealed Tuesday.
The meeting, which took place in Dublin, Ohio, was discovered by the FBI when they were investigating various anti-government groups, the Associated Press reported. The investigation ultimately led to charges against six men for plotting to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Special agent Richard Trask reportedly testified about the Ohio meeting during a hearing for the six men who stand accused of plotting with a paramilitary group to kidnap Whitmer. The hearing took place in order to determine whether evidence suggested Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta should be detained before the trial, according to the report. (RELATED: ‘I Do Not Tolerate ANY Extreme Violence’: Trump Lashes Out At Gretchen Whitmer After 6 People Were Arrested In Foiled Kidnapping Plot Against Her)
Five of the men are from Michigan. The sixth man accused of being involved in the plot against Whitmer, Barry Croft, is reportedly being held in Delaware.
During the Ohio meeting, “they discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said, according to the Associated Press. There is no indication that anyone has been charged for plotting against Northam, and it’s unclear if talks continued beyond the June 6 meeting.
Anti-government group members from “four or five states” attended the meeting, Trask said according to the report. There were roughly 15 people at the meeting, including Croft and Fox, the complaint said.
Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said the FBI alerted members of Northam’s security team about the threat but Northam and his staff were never notified, which is the standard security protocol. Northam and his family were never believed to be in imminent danger and enhanced security measures had already been in place, she reportedly added.
“Here’s the reality: President Trump called upon his supporters to ‘LIBERATE VIRGINIA‘ in April — just like Michigan,” Yarmosky said in a press release, according to the Associated Press. “In fact, the President regularly encourages violence against those who disagree with him.”
“The rhetoric coming out of this White House has serious and potentially deadly consequences,” she added. “It must stop.”
“LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment,” the president said in an April 17 tweet. “It is under siege!”
LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2020
After the plot against Whitmer was discovered, Trump said on Twitter that Whitmer has done a “terrible job” but that he does “not tolerate ANY extreme violence.”
…I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence. Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President! Governor Whitmer—open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2020