Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, said on Sunday that former President Trump’s recent attacks against the FBI “potentially” amount to incitement.
During an appearance on “CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta,” Acosta asked Lofgren about Trump’s characterization of the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) as “vicious monsters” during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday evening.
“You’ve looked at, along with the committee, Trump’s rhetoric leading up to January 6th,” Acosta said. “Do you think that kind of rhetoric is more incitement essentially?”
“Well, potentially yes,” Lofgren responded. “In the lead-up to January 6th, there were extravagant claims made meant to inflame public opinion, and that is what is happening here.”
“Although I think it’s meant to turn people against law enforcement officers,” she continued. “And we’ve seen that sometimes that rhetoric reaches people who are prepared to act on it.”
Lofgren voted to impeach Trump for incitement to insurrection after the Capitol attack and has attempted to portray him as directly responsible for the riot through her work on the Jan. 6 House panel.
After the FBI and DOJ searched Trump’s Florida home on Aug. 8, the former president has repeatedly lambasted the agencies as pursuing its investigation for political purposes.
Agents recovered some 33 boxes containing more than 100 classified records during the search, which took place in connection with the DOJ’s investigation into whether Trump violated the Espionage Act and two other federal statutes.
“The FBI and the Justice Department have become vicious monsters, controlled by radical left scoundrels lawyers and the media who tell them what to do—you people right there—and when to do it,” Trump said at Saturday’s rally.
The intelligence community has warned of increased threats to federal law enforcement in the wake of Trump and his allies’ attacks on the FBI and DOJ.
Lofgren on CNN referenced an armed man who attempted to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati field office last month. Officials have also arrested other individuals who they say made threats following the search.
“This is not responsible and the ex-president ought to stop it,” Lofgren said on CNN. “But meanwhile all of us, Democrats and Republicans, in elected office should call this out. This is not proper behavior.”