Soon after the raid of Mar-a-Lago, Trump began feeding conspiracy theories to his supporters, claiming that the FBI had planted damaging materials at his home. He also attacked the credibility of the Justice Department and described the investigation as a politically-motivated attack.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security subsequently reported a spike in violent threats toward federal law enforcement involved in the search.
On Monday, Kinzinger told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Trump was 100% responsible for inciting his supporters and blasted other Republican lawmakers for echoing Trump’s “dangerous” anti-government rhetoric.
“Donald Trump and his supporters have become quite creepy in how they’re acting and what they’re threatening,” Kinzinger said, referring to a message Trump reportedly had conveyed to Attorney General Merrick Garland last week.
A person familiar with the exchange told The New York Times the message was: “The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?”
“I don’t know what it means,” Kinzinger said. “Only Donald Trump in his own head knows what that means. But it does strike me as something like, you know, what you hear from the mafia. ‘Hey, if you want your store to be secure, give us money. We’ll make sure you’re secure,’ when in fact there was never a threat in the first place.’”
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Trump took highly classified materials from the White House. He is also under federal investigation for his attempted coup to remain in power.
Georgia officials are separately probing whether Trump and his allies interfered in the state’s 2020 election. There are also ongoing civil and criminal investigations into his business dealings in New York.