US politics engulfed in threats following police search of Trump’s home

A former Republican United States Attorney General begs his fellow Americans: Calm the ill-informed speculation that threatens to engulf the country’s politics.

The police search of Donald Trump’s Florida residence has sparked an upsurge in inflammatory rhetoric reminiscent of the volatile weeks following the last election.

This includes violent threats against officials, vows of political retaliation against the FBI, comparisons to the Nazi regime, and social media musings on the Civil War.

Alberto Gonzales urges people to suspend judgment until we know more about what really prompted Tuesday’s search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

The Attorney General under George W. Bush told CBC News he has sympathy for his former department: the Justice Department generally avoids discussing investigations, in part to protect the reputation of their target.

Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, pictured in 2016, urged Americans to allow the Justice Department to conduct its investigation without threats. (Mark Humphrey/Associated Press)

Since there’s no guarantee charges will be laid following a search, he said, it’s unfair for a suspect to rush in and describe what you were investigating.

This, he admits, puts his former department at a disadvantage by creating an information vacuum that, in this case, is quickly filled with speculation.

“A lot of people have said, in my opinion, outrageous things. They’re very, very critical of the department,” Gonzales told CBC this week.

“There’s a lot of things here that we don’t know yet…People have to wait. People have to be patient. I have a lot of confidence and faith in the department. I’m not saying he’s not doing any d “Mistakes from time to time. He does, he may. Nevertheless, I would give the ministry the benefit of the doubt. Let the ministry move on and do its job.”

Such pleas for patience fall flat.

Inflamed rhetoric, threats multiply

The nation is awash with furious speculation from all sections of American society, from anonymous accounts to high-ranking members of Congress.

Why did FBI agents search the former president’s house for classified documents? How sensitive were they? Did Trump show them to anyone? Have non-Americans seen them? Is it related to a larger investigation? Is it a libel job to keep Trump from running for president again?

Is it just badly managed documents? Authorities are not talking and Trump has refused to release the search warrant which could offer clues.

WATCH | The FBI raid on Trump’s house should galvanize supporters, according to one political strategist:

FBI raid on Trump home set to galvanize supporters, political strategist says

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid on former U.S. President Donald Trump’s private home in Florida is likely to swell Trump loyalists and spur him to dive into the next presidential election soon, the official said. Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson.

Republican politicians have largely closed ranks around the former president and have threatened everything from FBI funding to grilling law enforcement during committee hearings.

They compared the raid to a foreign dictatorship tactic. They Money raised beside himself, soliciting donations to fight the alleged persecution.

They channeled the rage of grassroots supporters who idolize Trump as a protester outside Mar-a-Lago who told Reuters on Tuesday: “You feel like you’re in Venezuela, China, Russia or even in Hitler’s Germany”.

The online chatter researchers say the intensity of anger reached levels resembling the environment before the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

He talks about the murder of the judge who would have authorized the search warrant, as well as the heads of the FBI and the Attorney General.

Online calls for civil war

Alex Friedfeld, a researcher at the Anti-Defamation League, said ordinary citizens hear from conservative opinion makers that America is sliding into tyranny and then they will be targeted.

And the response, he said, was an instant increase in violent rhetoric across multiple online platforms, especially smaller websites without content moderating teams.

Former President Donald Trump gestures as he leaves Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday, en route to the New York Attorney General’s office for a deposition in a civil investigation. (Julia Nikhinson/Associated Press)

“It’s a lot of people who openly fantasize about using violence to target their perceived enemies,” Friedfeld said in an interview.

“People are saying they’re fed up, it’s time for a civil war, they have to fight now or they’ll live in tyranny.”

One difference from Jan. 6, he said, is that there is no physical rallying point, no place for a crowd to gather at this time.

This is an aerial view of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate pictured Tuesday in Palm Beach, Florida. (Steve Helbe/Associated Press)

That will change if Trump is ever indicted.

A police lieutenant in a US city said CBC News colleagues were already having informal discussions about how to secure the courthouse if there was a Trump-related case.

‘Lock and load’

Friedfeld said it was an obvious risk. He predicted that prosecutors would have their personal information leaked on the internet and face a barrage of threats.

“All members of the prosecution will need to be protected,” he said.

“Physical security is going to be paramount. … There will be people advocating violence against people trying to prosecute Trump.”

WATCH | What’s next for Trump after the FBI raid?

What’s next for Trump after the FBI raid?

New York Post editor Kelly Jane Torrance and former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks explain the significance of the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s home and what may follow for the former president.

Another researcher, Daniel Jones, said the inflammatory rhetoric comes from three groups.

One he describes as entertainers – attention-hungry media personalities. In this category, it includes Fox News primetime shows excoriating “Biden’s FBI.”

Another he calls conspiracy theorists, Q-Anon types.

“We see things like ‘Lock and Load’. … ‘It’s a civil war,’ said Jones, lead investigator of the US Senate’s CIA torture report, and researcher for the nonprofit group and non-partisan Advance Democracy.

“[We’re seeing] direct threats against this judge [who reportedly signed the warrant]… [And stuff like]”Attorney General Merrick Garland should be executed and murdered.”

Republicans call for defunding the FBI

The third and final group he identifies, the one he calls the most disappointing, are mainstream politicians who should be better informed.

Some Republicans have been repeat Trump’s line that the police may have planted evidence at his home.

It’s not just primetime Republican talking heads asking definancing the FBI. Even a few members of Congress are while speaking in this way.

This includes Georgia Q-Anon peddling the firebrandRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who told One America News Network she’s thrilled with how many of her fellow lawmakers are siding with her.

“I usually fight with my fellow Republicans because I don’t think they’re strong enough,” she said.

“But I’m hearing things that I’m so glad to finally hear out of their mouths. Because when we take back a majority and control the House of Representatives, we go after the Justice Department; we go after The FBI We will control the budget that funds everyone’s program and everyone’s paychecks.

“A federal judge authorized this search”

Republicans on Capitol Hill say the outrage is not simply performative, like a public declaration of loyalty to Trump in order to appease their base.

They say they truly believe authorities and the media are aggressively targeting conservatives while ignoring the transgressions of Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton.

The longest-serving Republican in the House of Representatives had a message about what his party would do if it won a majority in this year’s midterm elections and gained power over congressional committees.

WATCH | Donald Trump pleads the Fifth Amendment before the New York State Attorney General:

Donald Trump pleads Fifth Amendment before New York State Attorney General

Stacey Lee is a constitutional law expert from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, she joins us to discuss the implications of Trump’s decision to plead the Fifth in an ongoing civil investigation into his business practices as well as the fallout from the raid of the FBI on his Mar-Domaine A-Lago.

Party leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in a statement that he would summon Garland to the committee hearings and asked him to keep all documents relating to the case.

Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, told Fox News his party would review the actions of law enforcement.

“You better have an explanation ready,” he said.

“Because you can’t militarize our institutions for political purposes. That’s the destruction of democracy.”

The eruption of outrage underscored just how deeply Republicans truly are Donald Trump’s party now.

Meanwhile, Attorney General George W. Bush was offering his feeble plea for people to trust law enforcement.

“A federal judge has authorized this search,” Gonzales told CBC. “That means something to me.”

Comments are closed.