Arizona man convicted after threatening Pelosi with ‘I’m coming to kill you’ message
Fueled by Trump-inspired grievance, attempts to terrorize public officials escalate Through public records requests, several previously unreported incidents came to light — while Capitol Police officials say the agency expects to log more than 9,000 threats this year. When Rep. Joe Neguse delivered his closing remarks in February at the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, he expressed concern about the direction of a nation that weeks earlier witnessed a homegrown attack in its capital. “I fear, like many of you do, that the violence we saw on that terrible day may be just the beginning,” said Neguse, D-Colo., who as an impeachment manager had a nationally televised role in prosecuting Trump on a charge that he incited the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Neguse ended optimistically, offering a favorite quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” The Senate acquitted Trump. A day later, Valentine’s Day, the propulsive threatening discourse that Neguse worried was taking root in American democracy landed on his doorstep. A suspicious letter mailed to the congressman’s home was opened to reveal a picture of Neguse clipped from The New York Times. An unknown substance, suspected to be feces, marked an “X” over the photo, according to records kept by the police department in Lafayette, Colorado, and obtained by NBC News. The disturbing incident, which has not been previously reported, was referred to the Capitol Police for investigation and is among the more than 9,000 threats the agency is expected to log this year. It’s also representative of the escalating security risks confronting public officials from the federal and state levels down to local school boards. “I had one person call and say, ‘This is the gun I’m going to use. I’m going to put three bullets in the back of his head,’” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said last month on MSNBC. “You find yourself feeling uncomfortable sitting next to an open window in your home. And that’s not something I ever thought I would have to think in this country.” Quantifying exactly how dangerous things have become is a challenge, but even elections officials — a less prominent rung of public service that is nonetheless central to democracy — are reporting threats. And officials with the Capitol Police, the agency responsible for protecting members of Congress, have said they expect the number of threats against members to surpass the 8,600 handled in 2020 and continue a significant surge during the Trump era. In 2017, the first year of Trump’s one term, only 3,900 threats were reported. (The department is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, making specifics scarce.)
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“I fear, like many of you do, that the violence we saw on that terrible day may be just the beginning,” said Neguse, D-Colo., who as an impeachment manager had a nationally televised role in prosecuting Trump on a charge that he incited the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.