Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) said Sunday that Donald Trump’s brazen and repeated attacks on the FBI could “potentially” be seen as inciting violence against the agency and its agents.
CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Lofgren if she considered it incitement when Trump called the FBI and Justice Department “vicious freaks” during his rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night.
“Potentially, yes,” replied Lofgren, who is a member of the January 6 House panel investigating last year’s insurrection. “During January 6, extravagant statements were made with the aim of inflaming public opinion, and that is what is happening here.”
“I think it’s meant to turn people against law enforcement,” Lofgren said. “And we’ve seen that sometimes that rhetoric reaches people who are willing to act on it.”
It’s “not responsible, and the ex-president should stop it,” Lofgren added. “In the meantime, all of us Democrats and elected Republicans should say this. This is not appropriate behavior.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the FBI, calling it a “criminal enterprise”, as well as “corrupt”, “sleazy” and abusive.
Following the confiscation by FBI agents last month of classified documents that Trump took from the White House when he left office and hid at his Mar-a-Lago compound, Trump claimed that the office had a “long and relentless history of corruption”.
He also called the raid a ‘sneak attack on democracy’ and referred in a Truth Social article to ‘big seething anger’ among the public over the action, which he called a ‘break-in’. .
Officials reported an increase in threats against the FBI after Trump’s remarks. A joint intelligence bulletin released by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security advised federal officials to remain vigilant and aware of domestic violent extremists.
In the first eruption of violence last month, gunman Ricky Shiffer, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, was killed in a shootout with police after trying to break into an FBI office in Cincinnati amid vicious social media attacks by Republican lawmakers and their supporters. .
The “base officers on the street and the agents, they are career employees who … cherish the Constitution like the average American,” Cosme said. “For them to be attacked … is shameful and disgusting.”
Check out Lofgren’s full interview on CNN here: