A Connecticut man was arrested and charged last week for threatening to murder Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who led the prosecution in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Robert Michael Phelps, 62, was arrested Friday and later released on a $25,000 bond, the U.S. Attorney’s office for Connecticut said in a Monday press release.
Prosecutors allege Phelps sent a death threat to Schiff via the congressman’s website on Nov. 12, 2019, the eve of the first public impeachment hearing. Phelps allegedly said in his message that he wanted to visit Schiff “so I can spit in your face and I want to kill you with my bare hands and smash your sick little round fat lying face in.”
Phelps later admitted to investigators that he’d sent the message, but “did not see the message as threatening,” according to a criminal complaint.
“Phelps stated he had a right to contact members of Congress and defend ‘his president,’” Daniel Heether, an FBI special agent, said in the complaint.
Trump repeatedly attacked Schiff during and after the impeachment proceedings.
In January, the president lambasted Schiff as “corrupt” and said the congressman had not yet “paid the price” for his role in the impeachment trial.
Prosecutors said Phelps was charged with threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years, and with making interstate threats, which carries a maximum jail term of five years.
As The New York Times noted, Phelps is at least the third person who’s been charged with threatening Schiff’s life.