Despite a bulletin issued Friday night revealing that FBI agents have been facing “unprecedented” threats since the search of Mar-a-Lago last week, former President Donald Trump spent the weekend railing against the agency, riling up his supporters and sharing conspiracy theories from QAnon believers.
Labeling the legal FBI search of his Florida home as “a sneak attack on democracy,” Trump stoked the already-charged atmosphere by posting dozens of times on his own Truth Social platform over the weekend, with virtually every post referencing the FBI search.
“America has never suffered this kind of ABUSE in Law Enforcement! For the FBI to RAID the home of the 45 President of the United States or any President for that matter, is totally unheard of and unthinkable,” Trump wrote in a late-night post on Sunday, adding “this Break In was a sneak attack on democracy (our Republic!)....It was for political, not legal reasons, and our entire Country is angry, hurt, and greatly embarrassed by it. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Besides sharing his own thoughts, Trump shared posts from other Truth Social users, including at least half a dozen accounts overtly boosting the QAnon conspiracy theory, including one called WWG1WGA, a common QAnon phrase that means “Where we go one, we go all.”
Trump’s efforts to demonize the FBI for conducting a legal search of his home comes after a week where the former president’s supporters—together with Republican leaders—openly called for “civil war.” Other far-right extremists doxed the judge who signed the search warrant, adding violent threats against him and his family.
Trump’s angry rhetoric came in the wake of a joint bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, warning about the “unprecedented” threats being made against FBI agents in response to last week’s search.
“The FBI and DHS have observed an increase in threats to federal law enforcement and, to a lesser extent, other law enforcement and government officials following the FBI’s recent execution of a search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida,” the memo said. “These threats are occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards.”
The internal intelligence memo, which was shared with state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officials nationwide late Friday night, revealed there was a “threat to place a so-called dirty bomb in front of FBI Headquarters and issuing general calls for ‘civil war’ and ‘armed rebellion.'”
Those threats, the memo said, are “specific in identifying proposed targets, tactics, or weaponry.”
The memo was issued just 24 hours after an armed Trump supporter, who was at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, attacked the FBI offices in Cincinnati with a nail gun and an AR-15-style rifle. Ricky Shiffer had posted about his plans to attack the office on Truth Social in the days leading up to the attack, and even posted an update during the attack.
Over the weekend, a large crowd of armed Trump supporters gathered outside the FBI offices in Phoenix, holding signs that read, “Honor your oath” and “Abolish FBI.”
A redacted copy of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant was finally released Friday, revealing that Trump is being investigated by the FBI for potentially violating the Espionage Act. The official copy of the search warrant released by the Department of Justice redacted the names of the FBI agents involved.
However, an unredacted copy of the search warrant was leaked to pro-Trump media outlets, which published it in full, including the names of the FBI agents who conducted the search. Those names and the personal details of the agents, including details about their families, are now being shared on the same extremist groups and message boards.
Among those sharing the information was former Trump aide Garret Ziegler, who published the details on his Telegram and Truth Social accounts, though it was subsequently removed from the latter.
Responding to another Truth Social user’s photos of one of the alleged FBI officials, Ziegler wrote: “Hope he doesn’t get a good night’s sleep for the rest of 2022,” according to the Daily Beast.
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.