Wisc. man extradited, arraigned in Antrim Co. in Whitmer murder plot

BY: - May 4, 2021

A Wisconsin man, one of eight defendants accused of plotting to violently overthrow the Michigan government last fall and kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, was arraigned Tuesday in Antrim County, Michigan, before Magistrate Norene Kastys. Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on a charge of material […]

Michigan Senate GOP fundraises off Shirkey controversies as fight against ‘cancel culture’

BY: - February 25, 2021

The Michigan Senate Republican Committee sent a fundraising email Feb. 24 claiming the party and members were being subjected to “cancel culture.” The letter, signed by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) alleges “The far-left groups want to ‘cancel’ us and you!” “The far-left is targeting me, the Senate Republicans, and our supporters. They are […]


Susan J. Demas: Michigan Republicans have radicalized — and there’s nothing to check their power

BY: - February 10, 2021

The national media has gotten wise this week to GOP Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey palin’ around with militia leaders, calling the pro-Trump U.S. Capitol insurrection a “hoax” and bragging that Republicans have repeatedly “spanked” the female Democratic governor on policy. “[We] spanked her hard on the budget. Spanked her hard on appointments. We did […]

Shirkey: GOP Legislature ‘spanked’ Whitmer on COVID orders, pro-Trump insurrection was a ‘hoax’

BY: - February 9, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said during a secretly taped meeting with local Republican party officials last week that the GOP-led Legislature “spanked” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as much as it could to fight her on COVID-19 health orders. Shirkey also falsely claimed that the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a “hoax” […]

Gilchrist presided over the Senate during the April armed protest. He says Shirkey’s meeting with militia leaders is ‘incredibly problematic.’

BY: - February 2, 2021

With news that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had issued a warning about rising domestic terrorism threats and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) meeting with leaders of militias last summer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, the first Black person to hold the post, has seen the anger and hatred up close.  He calls the […]

Whitmer plot suspect pleads guilty, admits to plans to storm Capitol, abduct her from N. Michigan home

BY: - January 29, 2021

A man accused of plotting with a group of anti-government radicals to abduct Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty to kidnapping conspiracy charges on Wednesday, setting the stage for him to testify against others who were allegedly involved. Hartland resident Ty Garbin, 25, admitted to conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat. Garbin on Wednesday appeared in […]

Take 3: Shirkey’s militia confab story evolves again

BY: - January 28, 2021

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) is telling another version of the story of his meeting with state militia leaders last year. The latest evolution occurred during a Monday interview with Radio Free Hillsdale, the radio station of Hillsdale College.  Shirkey made the new comments responding to the host asking about attacks leveled by […]

Whitmer says she and Shirkey haven’t talked about militia leaders he met last year

BY: - January 27, 2021

In October, state and federal law enforcement announced a right-wing extremist kidnapping and murder plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that made international news and looks to have been a harbinger of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that killed five people. Thirteen men, including some members of self-described militias, were arrested for the […]

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey

Shirkey changes story about militia leaders meeting, state police deny involvement

BY: - January 19, 2021

Updated, 8:20 a.m., 2/11/21 After facing social media backlash for his September comments about helping militia leaders in Michigan with messaging; Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) changed his story Tuesday in an interview with Bart Hawley of JTV in Jackson.  In an interview in September with Hawley, Shirkey said he met with leaders of […]

Militia group bows out, right-wing extremist groups gear up for Sunday in Lansing

BY: - January 15, 2021

With images of thousands of Americans overrunning the U.S. Capitol just over a week ago fresh in mind, Lansing is bracing for potential violent, armed protests this weekend through Wednesday, when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in in Washington, D.C. Experts have warned that a coalition of militias, right-wing activist groups, white supremacists and others […]

At pro-Trump rally, militia leader claims accused Whitmer plotters are ‘not guilty’

BY: - January 6, 2021

Phil Robinson, leader of the Michigan Liberty Militia, said Wednesday at a pro-President Trump rally at the state Capitol that the men accused in a plot to kidnap and kill Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are “not guilty.” “All I can say about that is that they are not guilty. I know them guys personally and […]


Column: Plot to kidnap Whitmer grew from the militia movement’s toxic mix of constitutional falsehoods and half-truths

BY: - October 15, 2020

The U.S. militia movement has long been steeped in a peculiar – and unquestionably mistaken – interpretation of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and civil liberties. This is true of an armed militia group that calls itself the Wolverine Watchmen, who were involved in the recently revealed plot to overthrow Michigan’s government and kidnap […]