The Hunter Biden investigation is challenging for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the degree to which Republicans have made public declarations about their expectations. But complicating matters is the fact that federal prosecutors and FBI agents involved in the case have also become the targets of threats and harassment by radicals who want to see the president’s son punished.
NBC News reported on the intimidation efforts and the larger pattern.
It’s part of a dramatic uptick in threats against FBI agents that has coincided with attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department by congressional Republicans and former President Donald Trump, who have accused both agencies of participating in a conspiracy to subvert justice amid two federal indictments of Trump. The threats have prompted the FBI to create a stand-alone unit to investigate and mitigate them, according to a previously unreleased transcript of congressional testimony.
Jennifer Moore, then an executive assistant director of human resources for the FBI, recently told the House Judiciary Committee, “We have stood up an entire threat unit to address threats that the FBI employees’ facilities are receiving. ... It is unprecedented. It’s a number we’ve never had before.”
She went on to testify that in the six months spanning October 2022 and March 2023, FBI agents and facilities faced more threats than the previous 12 months combined.
There’s obviously no defense for this, and Republicans who’ve gone to great lengths to villainize federal law enforcement should probably take note of how some have seized on their deceptive rhetoric.
But I’m also struck by the familiarity of the circumstances. It was two years ago this week, for example, when Reuters reported on the right’s “sustained campaign of intimidation” against election officials at the state and local level. As regular readers might recall, a variety of others — from public health officials to school board members to flight attendants — faced similar threats.
In the months that followed, the list grew. Librarians have faced threats. After Donald Trump’s classified documents scandal began in earnest, officials at the National Archives were targeted, too. The Internal Revenue Service felt the need to launch a full security review of its facilities nationwide in response to “right-wing threats.” (It was the first such IRS security review since 1995 — in the wake of the domestic terror attack in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.)
The next time we hear Trump and his supports applaud the principle of “law and order,” keep this campaign of intimidation in mind.