October 8, 2020

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe placed the blame for the failed militia plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer squarely on Donald Trump.

The six white men charged were part of a multi-state ad hoc militia, and seven other men being charged belong to a militia group called "Wolverine Watchmen." McCabe, however, chose to focus more on the person from whom these pretend soldiers were clearly taking their orders during his appearance on CNN Thursday.

Brianna Keilar, reminding McCabe about early COVID-19 protests against the shutdowns in Michigan, said, "...this is something for context that as we had seen, demonstrations against some of the coronavirus restrictions that were underway in Michigan. You have the president tweeting in April, "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" He was tweeting support for protesters, some who were armed. This is a situation in Michigan that has been tense and has not been tamped down by rhetoric coming out of the White House."

McCabe agreed, and after explaining the chilling details outlining evidence of the group's "intent and capability" to pull off the kidnapping of Gov. Whitmer, he pivoted to Trump's role in fomenting domestic terroristic plots.

McCABE: As far as political discourse angle goes, I don't think you can possibly overstate this.

Let's think back just for a minute. We know that in 2016 one of the Russians' primary objectives was to sow exactly this sort of sentiment, discord, chaos, distrust in each other and in our democratic process. We also know from what the intelligence folks in our country have told us in the last few weeks, that they are continuing that same campaign. But let's not be mistaken, here, Brianna. The person most responsible for fomenting this sort of unrest, this sort of division, this sort of violence in this country right now is the president of the United States. The Russians simply have to amplify the messages that president Trump is putting out on a daily basis. Constantly berating the democratic process, claiming it is a rigged game, claiming it is replete with fraud, all of which we know is false. But it is exactly that sort of rhetoric that causes extremists to feel like now is the time to take action. It serves as a sort of trigger for folks who are already violent, maybe unstable, pointed in that direction anyway. That encouragement from someone like the president of the United States cannot possibly be overstated. It is dangerous and we now see it happening on the streets of Michigan.

Let's not forget Trump's more recent rallying cry and call to arms: "Stand back and stand by."

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