Michigan gov kidnapping plot traces back to protest months earlier, FBI says: Part 1

After Gov. Whitmer enacted strict statewide stay-at-home orders in March, a group of protesters, some armed, flooded the state capitol as President Trump took aim at her on Twitter and at rallies.
11:18 | 10/20/20

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Michigan gov kidnapping plot traces back to protest months earlier, FBI says: Part 1
tonight we take you in to a hidden world. A place authorities say gave birth to a violent domestic tower or plot. We traveled to the state and talked to militia members that disavowed the extremists. This is gorgeous up here. You can buy five acres or three acres here and do whatever you deep woods Michigan, the rural town of Luther. Jim has been hunting in these parts for decades. We are only a quarter mile back in the woods and you know what? Who would know? You can do guns and explosives back here and you would never know. I'm not probably, maybe a half mile, quarter mile from here and I never knew this was here. Never knew. This is like unbelievable to me. Unbelievable. It's hear federal authorities say his neighbor took part planning a vicious plot against Michigan's governor. 14 men, accused of being home grown terrorists, the ugly vitriol of the fight over government's lockdowns and freedoms. More on the plot to kidnap and kill governor Whitmer. The nib releases disturbing new details. Hatred and bigotry have no place in the state of Michigan. Among the accused these men. Charging documents allege a paramilitary plan that included storming Michigan's capitol building with explosives, disguising an assassin as a pizza deliver man and talking about bombs calling them cup cakes. Ly will take you as far as we can go. And inside the stunning ground, and details lik encrypted text messages. They had a number of paid informants. Investigate ers come to you and say, we are looking at this plot to violently kidnap you. You heard about the spatch pattern and something like ISIS, you would not be surprised. This is happening here in the United States of America. That's domesticing terrorism. The Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, the state's ever second woman governor. And the target of this group, the wolverine watchmen. As a mother, I thought immediately how do you tell your children that their mother's life is in danger? We have seen the most vial things, my kids have seen it. We have had people show up on the front line with automatic rifles. I have been blunt with my kids. Today I'm issuing a stay at home, stay safe executive order for all michiganders. At the height of the pandemic, governors across the country shut down states. The stay at home order is an aggressive measure to keep the most people safe we can in Michigan. It's the most aggressive of any state in the country. Reporter: Within a month, anti-lockdown demonstrations erupted outside the state's capitol. Throngs of livid protesters, demanding that businesses reopen. Doesn't matter what crisis there is, you only have the power that you have. A crowd even pouring in to theapitol building, engaging with in a tense standoff with a wall of law enforcement. We have seen paramilitary organizations appear in public in an offensive capacity, gearing up heavily armed, opposing government policies with which they the disagree. Reporter: Among the protesters, militia groups carrying automatic rifles and suited up in body armor, showing their support. We are here today for what reason? To let people know they can assemble peacefully and not get arrested and still have a right to free speech. Reporter: The top law enforcement officer? Michigan. We have always had an issue with militia type organizations in Michigan. But we have seen a resurgency in recent years. Reporter: Before long, the president takes aim squarely at Whitmer. Your governor has you shut down, it doesn't look it here. Reporter: What exactly happened in terms of those threats to you after the president referred to you as that woman from Michigan? We saw the graphic nature of threats against me and my family grow exponentially, it just it got -- it turned the heat up. It's a dog whistle to the unlawful, militias. They feel they have a license from the highest authority in the country. Reporter: In April, president trump tweeted liberate Minnesota, Virginia and Michigan. Three states with democratic governors. When you say liberate. That is a call to action. It's a rallying cry. And I think it a call to arms. And I think that is what it turned out to be. Reporter: In Michigan's capitol, in the backyard of the governor's mansion, the governor talked about the avalanche of threats to her life. People remember the pictures from the state capitol where people with weapons were showing up and intimidating legislators and threatening me at that point. We have come to find that some of the members of this plot were at that event. Reporter: Do you think president trump gives safe harbor to the element wills of domestic terrorism? I think the hesitating of calling out white supremacy creates space for groups that are looking for anything to hang their hat on. We are one of the few state Ms. The United States, where all of the states, all the top executive offices are held by women. The president of the united States has taken time to criticize all three of us by name on Twitter. What does it say to you? Do I think it's mysogenistic? Yeah. Do you think she over reached on the -- on the lockdown measures? I think it decreased the numbers of infections and the numbers don't lie. There's hate and anger and resentment. There's people losing businesses and livelihood. Reporter: Michael and his wife are members of one of the oldest modern militia in Michigan. They reject the violence, but defend the independent streak in their communities. Like boy scouts with guns. Reporter: What kind of training do you do? Training involves, everything from land navigation, map and compass without using modern electronics. Just a lot of skills that our parents and grandparents grew up with. Reporter: My understanding that you crossed paths with some of these alleged kidnap First time I was aware of them was back when the Flint water crisis happened. Reporter: When you say them, you mean these particular suspects. Bill and Mike, yeah. Reporter: Twin brothers, Michael and William, this is them at that anti-lockdown protests armed with ar-15, extra ammo strapped to their chests. Amir stone'ses throw from the governor's office. They are charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization. Both have plead not guilty. What was your interpretation of them? They were like us, they were there to help their communities. They were quiet, they were not waving their rifles around or screaming. They could get boistrous in events. Reporter: The brothers were fixtures at militia events and known for their behavior. Allegedly finding a home with the wolverine watchman. The wolverine watchman had ties to multiple other groups and it's not just a Michigan problem, it's an American problem. The government releasing eight months of encrypted texts. One stating take pics of the bridge, in order to plant a bomb as a distraction. Others talking about an apparent assassination, suggesting have one person go to had her house, knock on the door when she answers, just cap her. They are not just calling the governor a tie rent. They are talking about putting a cap in her, which is kind of, you know, a little bit like b-movie gangster talk. It's talking about shooting her had. This photo, taken by a government inform ant. Part of the evidence released by investigators showing suspect Adam fox, binoculars up. They went out and -- survailed locations and looked at the summer home and went to the location allegedly to go see what they would do. Fox, the alleged ring leader shown in this video. Drawing his weapons, a long gun and his pistol, in front of a cache of weapons and he showed off had his taser. And that here, a group appearing to run commando drills out of a this dashcam video showing one of the suspects being pulled over during a routine traffic stop. You have a driver's license and proof of insurance with you? The FBI said he later texted the group saying he wanted to full the officers who pulled him over. As the plot against governor Whitmer made national headlines the president continued his attacks over the weekend, while visiting her home state. And I guess they said she was threatened. Right? She was threatened. And she blamed me. I know president trump said you owed him gratitude and you should thank him. And then he doubled down on his criticism of you, when you reached out to the white house, can did you get any response? You know, I made this request directly to the vice president on two occasions and he acknowledged hearing my requests and, but, no action was ever taken. And I, you know, I -- that's where it ends unfortunately. It's where it began and ended. When we come back. Look it right here. Searching for answers. A glimpse inside what the FBI said was a terrorist training ground. Plotting murder and mayhem had. Me and my wife would hear gunshots. Going boom, boom, boom, boom, and the night that the tiny town awoke to a federal raid. That night, there were so many helicopters and so many cars coming up and down the

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"11:18","description":"After Gov. Whitmer enacted strict statewide stay-at-home orders in March, a group of protesters, some armed, flooded the state capitol as President Trump took aim at her on Twitter and at rallies.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Nightline","id":"73708670","title":"Michigan gov kidnapping plot traces back to protest months earlier, FBI says: Part 1","url":"/Nightline/video/michigan-gov-kidnapping-plot-traces-back-protest-months-73708670"}