Extremism news continued to be dominated this week by the fallout from the search of former President Donald Trump’s home and club Mar-a-Lago by federal agents.
Threats to law enforcement, particularly the FBI, were already spiking before the now-infamous search, but they have now reached levels not seen since the 1990s, experts told USA TODAY. That led former Vice President Mike Pence to implore his fellow Republicans to stop criticizing the FBI.
Pence also announced this week that he will consider testifying in front of the January 6 Congressional Committee. An Associated Press story this week outlined how Jan. 6 defendants have been profiteering from their involvement in the insurrection, often raising the ire of the judges overseeing their cases.
It’s the week in extremism:
Threats against the feds spiking
Several experts told USA TODAY the level of threats, and general animosity, being directed at the FBI and the federal government more generally has reached levels not seen since the 1990s. “This is really disturbing,” a former top official at the FBI said.
Last week, an attacker incensed by the Mar-a-Lago search tried to attack the FBI office in Cincinnati. As USA TODAY reported last week, the attacker, who was shot and killed in a police chase, appeared to have posted increasingly angry and unhinged content on Truth Social, the social media site Trump founded.
In Pittsburgh, a man appeared in court on Monday charged with influencing, impeding or retaliating against federal law officers. "I am going to (expletive) slaughter you," he wrote on the extremist social media site Gab a few days ago, according to a federal complaint.
Truth Social will hand over data to investigators: In the Pittsburgh case, Gab cooperated with the FBI, sending investigators a log of the user’s threats on the website. As Insider reported on Tuesday, Truth Social’s small print reveals that it will turn over user information to law enforcement, just as other social media sites do.
Pence urges calm
In response to the angry rhetoric and out-and-out threats being made toward the FBI, former Vice-President Mike Pence called for calm on Thursday:
“We can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision he made without attacking rank-and-file law enforcement personnel,” Pence told a crowd in New Hampshire.
Targeting agents: Pence’s comments came after individual FBI agents were being “doxxed” online, with extremists revealing their names, dates of birth and other information, according to extremism researcher Kesa White, who provided USA TODAY with screenshots of the posts on the secure messaging app Telegram.
Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol riot extremists, Trump supporters raise money for lawyer bills online
Jan. 6 profiteers
Defendants charged with federal crimes for their involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection are using their status to boost their public profiles, raise money in donations, and promote businesses, according to an extensive story by the Associated Press.
The profiteers include a Nevada man who is writing a book about his experience, a Washington rioter selling Jan. 6-inspired merchandise including T-shirts saying “Our house,” and a Virginia man hawking a rap album with Jan. 6-themed songs, AP reports.
As my colleagues and I reported last year, this isn’t the first time Jan. 6 defendants have sought to raise money for their legal defenses. Rioters have hopped around different funding platforms, some of which have refused to host them, and have settled on the “Christian crowdfunding site” GiveSendGo, which has helped them raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Follow the money: The team at the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center published a submission to the Jan. 6 committee this week titled “Financing the Insurrection.” The deeply reported study outlines contributions to Jan. 6 rioters in fiat currency and cryptocurrency, as well as efforts by defendants to raise money since the riot via video live streaming and selling merchandise.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: FBI threats; plea for calm, insurrection profits: This week in hate