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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) speaks during a news conference. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The militia groups who had allegedly plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) also discussed kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified in court on Tuesday.

The big picture: FBI agent Richard Trask was part of the investigation that thwarted an extremist plot last week to kidnap Whitmer and overthrow state governments and law enforcement. Six Michigan residents were arrested in connection with the plot, while seven others linked to the militia group Wolverine Watchmen were arrested for allegedly planning to attack the Michigan Capitol.

Details: Since early 2020, the FBI has been tracking violent extremist groups via social media sites. The FBI had an inside source at the meeting held in June, in which attendees from "four or five" states allegedly went over their plans.

  • “They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said at Tuesday's hearing.
  • The common thread between both politicians was their strict initial responses to the coronavirus, although many of the restrictions have since been lifted.
  • A spokesperson for Northam said that members of his security detail had been alerted by the FBI throughout the investigation.

What they're saying: "Here's the reality: President Trump called upon his supporters to 'LIBERATE VIRGINIA' in April — just like Michigan," the Northam spokesperson said in a statement.

  • "In fact, the President regularly encourages violence against those who disagree with him. The rhetoric coming out of this White House has serious and potentially deadly consequences. It must stop."

Of note: The prosecution of the six men charged with the intent to kidnap Michigan's governor is ongoing and the defendants face up to life in prison if convicted.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office faces fresh charges

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office faces fresh charges, according to a criminal complaint amended Tuesday.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, who was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, is suspected of being the woman featured in a video saying, "dude, put on gloves," before a man's gloved hand reaches for the laptop, per the Department of Justice.

Inflation threatens Latinos' buying power

Expand chart
Data: Hispanic Index of Consumer Sentiment; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Latinos in the U.S. are less optimistic about the economy than they were a year ago as inflation threatens to cut into their buying power.

Why it matters: Latinos have been economic growth drivers for the past decade, opening new businesses at faster rates than other groups and increasing their homeownership rates. The group's overall output would make them the seventh-largest GDP in the world if they were a country.

36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Frontline Dems seek cover with bipartisan police bill

Rep. Josh Gottheimer. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Moderate Frontline Democrats facing tough reelection fights are teaming up with House Republicans on a bill that would effectively help fund the police, according to a copy of the bill text obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: One of Republicans' core and most effective campaign attacks to date is their messaging around progressive rhetoric to "defund the police." Moderate Democrats have long tried to dodge that narrative, acknowledging its political peril despite their support for broader police reform.