Politics Michigan bans open carry of guns at Election Day polling places on heels of Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot
Trump says Whitmer didn't say 'thank you' after thwarted kidnapped plot. She did thank law enforcement
Whitmer thanked law enforcement in her press conference on Thursday but criticized Trump for his responses to hate groups.Seven additional people are also facing state charges pursuant to Michigan's anti-terrorism act in connection to the alleged plot.
- Michigan's secretary of state banned the open carry of guns at polling places and other official voting locations on Election Day in the state.
- The move comes on the heels of arrests related to an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Fourteen men charged in the cases have ties to militia groups, officials say.
- President Donald Trump, who has been critical of Whitmer, trails Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in recent polls in the state.
Michigan's secretary of state on Fridayat polling places and other official voting locations on Election Day in the state, a move that comes on the heels of an alleged plot to and after armed protests at the statehouse.
AG: Michigan governor, family were moved as plotters tracked
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her family were at times moved around by authorities as law enforcement tracked the men who allegedly plotted for months to kidnap her, Michigan's attorney general said Friday. Dana Nessel disclosed the detail to “CBS This Morning." She said the Democratic governor was consistently updated about the investigation over the past couple months. “She was aware of things that were happening," NesselDana Nessel disclosed the detail to “CBS This Morning." She said the Democratic governor was consistently updated about the investigation over the past couple months.
“Fair, free and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in announcing the open carry ban, which will be backed by the state attorney general and State Police.
“I am committed to ensuring all eligible Michigan citizens can freely exercise their fundamental right to vote without fear of threats, intimidation or harassment," said Benson, who is Michigan's top election official.
"Prohibiting the open-carry of firearms in areas where citizens cast their ballots is necessary to ensure every voter is protected.”
Benson outlined the prohibition in a guidance issued to local election clerks.
The alleged kidnapping plot against the Michigan governor as told in photos
A photo series showing how the kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unfolded. Tensions between Whitmer, the state's second female governor, and right-wing activists have been playing out publicly, with large protests through the spring and summer as the governor instituted restrictions to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The ban on opening carrying firearms applies to polling places, clerk's offices and absent voter counting boards on Election Day, which falls on Nov. 3, and extends out 100 feet from those locations.
That guidance said that "the presence of firearms at" those locations "may cause disruption, fear, or intimidation for voters, election workers, and others present."
State Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “Michigan voters have the right to vote in person on Election Day free from threat and intimidation."
"An armed presence at the polls is inconsistent with our notion of a free democracy. I stand with the Secretary in her commitment to ensure that every eligible voter who wants to vote in person can do so safely and without fear or intimidation.”
Michigan has 16 electoral votes at stake in the contest between incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and the Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sheriff in Michigan says plot to kidnap governor may have been LEGAL
Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf in May took the stage at an anti-lockdown rally with William Null, who with his twin brother Michael Null is among the 13 charged in the kidnapping plot. 'It's just a charge, and they say a 'plot to kidnap' and you got to remember that. Are they trying to kidnap?' Leaf told WXMI-TV on Thursday.'Because a lot of people are angry with the governor, and they want her arrested. So are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? Because you can still in Michigan if it's a felony, make a felony arrest,' Leaf said.
Trump barely won Michigan in his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton, edging the Democrat out by just 0.23% of the votes cast. The state was one of several in the Rust Belt which played a crucial role in giving Trump enough votes to defeat the former U.S. secretary of State in the Electoral College.
But recent polls show Biden leading Trump by an average of more than six percentage points in Michigan.
Trump has been critical of Whitmer for her response to the Covid-19 outbreak since last spring.
Earlier this month, federal authorities arrested six men in connection with, with one of those defendants allegedly saying the group would try the governor for "treason."
State terrorism charges have been filed against eight other men related to allegedly offering aid to that scheme and to efforts to ignite a civil war and commit violent acts against law-enforcement officials in the state. All fourteen defendants are alleged to be members or associates of militia groups, including one called the Wolverine Watchmen.
Gov. Whitmer says she has 'always felt safe' but doubles down on charges that extremists are 'finding comfort' in Republican rhetoric
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was the target of a failed kidnapping plot, said she remains "concerned about safety and integrity going into this election."Whitmer was a target of a failed kidnapping plot by at least six men who had ties to the militant "boogaloo" movement that allegedly urged its members to conduct surveillance on the governor's private home.
Michigan's state house has also been the site of protests by people armed with guns, who were upset by Whitmer's strict lockdown orders earlier this year of businesses and other entities because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer, and discussions about also kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, another Democrat,
In April, after armed protests at the state capitol by members of militia groups and others, Trump tweeted "Liberate Michigan!"
Whitmer and Nessel have said Trump's rhetoric could have played a role in sparking the alleged plot.
Whitmer has called Trump "complicit," while Nessel has said of Trump and state Republican elected officials, "When they say these things, people not only listen, they respond. ... It's not just a dog whistle, but a rallying cry."
However, at least one of the men charged with the kidnap plot, Brandon Caserta,, referring to the president as a "tyrant."
"Trump is not your friend, dude. It amazes me that people actually, like, believe that when he's shown over and over and over again that he's a tyrant," Caserta said on a video being circulated online, The Detroit News reported. "Every single person that works for government is your enemy, dude."
Several of Caserta's co-defendants reportedly posted pro-Trump messages on social media.
Trump has continued attacking Whitmer for her policies even after the alleged kidnap plot was exposed.
Trump on Thursday during a Fox Business interview blasted Whitmer, accusing her of aspiring to be a "dictator."
"Michigan, she has to open up," Trump said. "She wants to be a dictator in Michigan, and the people can't stand her."
How FBI says Michigan gov kidnapping plot went from texts, small gatherings to raid .
14 men are accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI revealed the men’s alleged paramilitary operation earlier this month, which included sinister plots to execute government officials, storm the capitol building with explosives and send bombs codenamed “cupcakes.