Thirteen armed men in total were charged between the federal and Michigan state government Thursday for their involvement in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. Seven of the 13 charged were tied to a militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen, with members supporting QAnon and “deep state” conspiracy theories. 

An affidavit revealed that the militia members wanted to organize 200 men to take control of the capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including Whitmer. The men would then try Whitmer for treason in Wisconsin.

A website reportedly tied to the Watchmen explains the group’s philosophy and reads: "A well-armed citizenry is the best form of Homeland Security and can better deter crime, invasion, terrorism, and tyranny."

The Washington Post reported that one suspect, Brandon Caserta, was seen in a YouTube video pretending to fire a weapon while wearing profanity on his shirt that describes what he’d like to do to “THE GOVERNMENT.” There are shirts in the video that are used by the violently anti-government Boogaloo movement. Caserta has videos where he expresses disappointment with the government.

Eric Molitor, a militia member facing state charges in the case, promoted QAnon theories on Facebook. He also made posts about “three-percenter militias” and praised Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who was charged with killing several protesters following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Joseph Morrison and Pete Musico were called the “founding members” of the Wolverine Watchmen by Michigan Assistant Attorney General Gregory Townsend. The pair also face state charges.

“There are multiple members of the Wolverine Watchmen,” Townsend claimed. “Mr. Morrison was considered the commander.”

Townsend said Morrison held militia training sessions at his property in Munith, Michigan. The home flies both confederate and “Original 13” flags.

Musico shared rants about gun control, taxes and the “deep state” conspiracy theory on YouTube. The “deep state” theory alleges that a cadre of national security officials and bureaucrats are seeking to undermine the presidency of Donald Trump.

Whitmer accused Trump of providing a “rallying cry” to groups such as the Wolverine Watchmen.

“When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet with, encourage and fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit,” Whitmer said. 

Trump and Whitmer have frequently feuded, with the president referring to Whitmer as “that woman from Michigan.” In April, Trump tweeted “Liberate Michigan!” as the state faced shutdown orders under Whitmer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.