A U.S. veteran has promised to gather armed troops and "patriots" to arrest lawmakers, including President Barack Obama, who supported the Iran nuclear deal — beginning with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) in October.
In an open letter posted Sept. 21, Jon Ritzheimer said that he "has everything to lose" and plans to travel from Arizona to Michigan with an armed militia of a "growing number of patriots" to arrest Stabenow because she voted for the nuclear deal with Iran. Once the group has arrested Stabenow, the letter states, the militia will then move on and arrest other lawmakers across the country, including "the president who brokered this deal."
The lawmakers will be arrested for treason "under Article 3 Section 3 of the Constitution," Ritzheimer, a former Marine, wrote.
That section of the Constitution states:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
"We have chosen [Stabenow] as our first target due to our strong ties with the Michigan State Militia and their lax gun laws that will allow us to operate in a manner necessary for an operation like this," the letter said.
"We do not seek violence but we will be armed and ready to defend and uphold our oath to the Constitution. There is no reason these people can’t be held accountable and have their day in court," Ritzheimer wrote. "I have notified law enforcement about these intentions. We will be cooperating with them and try to keep this as smooth as possible so we don’t have another 'Shot Heard Round The World' situation. If these people are innocent, then it should be proven in court. But there is overwhelming evidence stacked up against them that says otherwise."
U.S. Capitol Police Capt. Kimberly Schneider told TheBlaze in an email that the department is aware of the open letter and her office is "working with local law enforcement in Michigan on the matter."
In the open letter, Ritzheimer, who identifies himself as an "Oathkeeper" and "American Patriot," said he does not seek fame or fortune but encouraged supporters to donate to his cause so that the group can afford fuel for the journey. More than money, he said, he hopes "fellow patriots" will join his cause as "strength is in our numbers."
In a nearly 20-minute video on YouTube, Ritzheimer further detailed his plans. He also stated he has fellow Marines and Michigan militiamen who will help him on his October mission.
Cai Irvin, who told TheBlaze he was a friend of Ritzheimer's and would be videotaping the excursion and events as "independent media," blasted the mainstream media for portraying Ritzheimer as a "right-ring radical" and "extreme."
"This man is contacting every single law enforcement, the Supreme Court, he’s contacting Congress, he’s contacting whatever he can to try to get an indictment on the treasonous deal which was the Iranian nuke deal," Irvin told TheBlaze Wednesday afternoon. "And a lot of people view it as treason."
Irvin said that if law enforcement does not indict Stabenow, she will not be arrested, but many "Old Glory-toting patriots" will protest and "pitch a fit." He said that "American patriots" are not some terrorist organization burning down cities like Ferguson and Baltimore — an allusion to Black Lives Matter protests.
"I can’t tell you the future. I can’t tell you if it would go sour. I can’t tell you if it would go smoothly because I can’t predict the future," Irvin said of what would happen when they arrive in Michigan without an indictment. "What I can tell you is what I hope will happen: collectively America comes to their senses and realizes that our voices don’t matter anymore, because they just don’t."
"Nobody wants to stand up there and be the voice for the people," Irvin added. "You've got Donald Trump up there trying to do it, but he's not even touching the topics that are bothering everybody. So it gets frustrating."
A spokesperson for Stabenow's office declined to comment per office policy as this is a "security-related matter."
"No one’s trying to kidnap her, no one’s trying to go in with guns blazing, no one’s trying to do any of that," Irvin told TheBlaze. "What we want to do is start seeing some of these senators being arrested for not being the voice of the people. That’s a legitimate request from the people."
Ritzheimer is no stranger to controversy; in May he organized a "draw Muhammed" cartoon contest in front of a Phoenix mosque. The event was described as a peaceful First Amendment demonstration but encouraged participants to practice their Second Amendment rights and come armed — setting police on edge.
The May protest was peaceful, but Ritzheimer had told a local news outlet that he would feel bad but not responsible if anyone had gotten hurt.
In a video posted to his Facebook page in August, Ritzheimer called for a "global protest for humanity" on Oct. 9-10.
This story has been updated to include a statement from U.S. Capitol Police.