Already facing federal charges for mishandling classified information and numerous violations of the Espionage Act, disgraced former president Donald Trump could also be looking at charges of incitement in response to his continued attacks on the FBI.
HuffPost reports that the warning about possible incitement charges came from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who told CNN host Jim Acosta the ex-president’s angry rhetoric aimed at the FBI are dangerous:
CNN’s Jim Acosta pressed Lofgren on whether she considered it incitement when Trump blasted the FBI and Justice Department as “vicious monsters” at his Pennsylvania rally Saturday night.
“Potentially, yes,” responded Lofgren, who’s a member of the House Jan. 6 panel investigating last year’s insurrection. “In the lead-up to January 6th there were extravagant claims made meant to inflame public opinion, and that is what is happening here.”
“I think it’s meant to turn people against law enforcement officers,” Lofgren said. “And we’ve seen that sometimes that rhetoric reaches people who are prepared to act on it.“
This is “not responsible, and the ex-president ought to stop it,” Lofgren added. “Meanwhile, all of us, Democrats and Republicans in elected office, should call this out. This is not proper behavior.”
Here’s just a few of the things Trump has said about the FBI since agents served a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Springs on August 8:
- Called the agency a “criminal enterprise.”
- Referred to the FBI as “corrupt” and “sleazy.”
- Alleged the agency has a “long and unrelenting history of being corrupt.”
That sort of language may have contributed to an incident which took place last month in Ohio. Ricky Shiffer, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, tried to breach the Cincinnati office of the FBI. He was later killed by police in a shootout.
Inciting violence is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison.