On Wednesday night, two days after the FBI raided former President Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, FBI Director Christopher Wray made headlines. As the Associated Press reported, "FBI’s Wray denounces threats following search of Trump home," taking special care to not to refer to the raid for what it was.
While Director Wray did not take questions about the raid, he did denounce "threats." Per the report:
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The director of the FBI had strong words Wednesday for supporters of former President Donald Trump who have been using violent rhetoric in the wake of his agency’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Christopher Wray, who was appointed as the agency’s director in 2017 by Trump, called threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department “deplorable and dangerous.”
“I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray said. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
Wray made the remarks following a news conference during a long-planned visit to the agency’s field office in Omaha, Nebraska, where he discussed the FBI’s focus on cybersecurity. He declined to answer questions about the hours-long search Monday by FBI agents of Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida resort.
The report includes some examples of online chatter that's reportedly come from the social media site of Gab, though there's no links or mention of the usernames of those making such posts:
On Gab — a social media site popular with white supremacists and antisemites — one poster going by the name of Stephen said he was awaiting “the call” to mount an armed revolution.
“All it takes is one call. And millions will arm up and take back this country. It will be over in less than 2 weeks,” the post said.
Another Gab poster implored others: “Lets get this started! This unelected, illegitimate regime crossed the line with their GESTAPO raid! It is long past time the lib socialist filth were cleansed from American society!”
Director Wray also made headlines last Thursday when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on oversight of the FBI. He refused to stay for more than a few hours, though, despite hopes from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking member, that he would stay for another round of questions.
NBC's local affiliate in the Dallas/Fort Worth area reprinted and tweeted out the AP article, receiving many quoted retweets and replies from users pointing out that the FBI has not seemed to care enough about threats of violence and actual violence targeting conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Not only that, but they encouraged it.— Jake, BSN, RN. ???? (@patriotRNusa) August 10, 2022
I’m sorry what ? And what about all the violent rhetoric following SCOTUS ruling ? When was it decided the plebs can’t speak out against the elite rulers ?— T ????X??N (@rrunner92) August 10, 2022
Ummm… I am not for any sort of violence, but Americans didn’t raid the FBI… the FBI raided the former President full equipped for a small war.— Joe H (@JxeHxrman) August 10, 2022
Welcome, my fellow “domestic terrorists.” pic.twitter.com/QwT7F2OSxG— Inez Stepman ?????? (@InezFeltscher) August 11, 2022
Since the draft opinion of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision was leaked on May 2, protests have shown up to the homes of such justices, resulting in Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the opinion of the Court, to leave his home. A suspect is even facing federal charges for plotting to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and reportedly had plans to murder other conservative justices as well.
Not only did Director Wray refuse to stay for another round of questioning, but he also gave less than satisfactory answers about what the FBI is doing about illegal protests and threats of violence against conservative justices, as evidenced by his exchange with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).
As Sen. Cotton aptly put it during their exchange, he was "very disappointed that the Department of Justice and FBI didn't take these protests themselves seriously. As I said, they led to a Democratic hit man showing up and trying to assassinate a sitting Supreme Court justice."
Listing other examples, the senator stressed "these are serious and grave threats" and that "it is an obvious blackletter violation of the criminal law, and I hope if it happens again, the FBI will take it more seriously and start arresting them and charging them with the violation of this obvious crime."