The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

Screenshot from Rep. Hakeem Jeffries' Instagram (@repjeffries)

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The FBI on Tuesday arrested a California man for sending threatening text messages to family members of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as well as a family member of an unnamed New York City-based journalist, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

Robert Lemke was charged with one count of threatening interstate communications after he allegedly texted Jeffries' brother on Jan. 6 — the day of the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the United States Capitol — and threatened to hurt Jeffries' family if he did not overturn the election results.

"Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words," Lemke wrote in the text, according to the complaint. "We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him. We are not far from his either."

Lemke texted that he also knew where Jeffries' kids were located, saying, "Your words have consequences. Stop telling lies; Biden did not win, he will not be president. We are not[] white supremacists. Most of us are active/retired law enforcement or military. You are putting your family at risk. We have armed members near your home."

The complaint does not identify Jeffries, instead saying the victim was the brother of "Congressman-1."

However, Jeffries confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that he was the member of Congress in the complaint.

Lemke is the latest Trump fan to be charged with making threats to Democratic lawmakers after buying into Trump's lies about voter fraud and stolen elections.

In November, shortly after Trump lost the 2020 election, a New York man was arrested for threatening to kill now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Over the course of his four-year tenure, dozens of Trump supporters have either been arrested for making threats or for carrying out violence against those who did not support Trump leading up to the election.

But that number has swelled into the hundreds since the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a mob incited by Trump himself waged a violent and deadly attack at the Capitol.

The FBI on Tuesday said that roughly 135 people have been arrested for their role in the terror attack at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including one Capitol Police officer. Hundreds more could be arrested in the coming days, as the FBI has identified more than 400 suspects, NBC News reported.

"Regardless of the level of criminal conduct, we're not selectively targeting or just trying to charge the most significant crime," acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said at a news conference on Tuesday, according to NBC's report. "If a crime was committed we are charging you, whether you were outside or inside the Capitol."

Jeffries appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday and spoke about the threats his family received, which he said "unfolded at the same moment that we had been evacuated" from the House chamber during the violent insurrection.

Jeffries thanked the law enforcement officers who arrested Lemke, and placed blame for the threats directly on Trump himself, who Jeffries said "is responsible for this type of activity."

"He's the person who has perpetrated the Big Lie that he actually won the election and that the presidency was stolen by Joe Biden and Democrats in the House," Jeffries told MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "That's why there were people who violently attacked the Capitol, who were there to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, hang Mike Pence, and hunt down members of Congress. And now you've got Senate Republicans who want to whitewash the whole thing. We're not going to allow them to whitewash anything."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

My Brother, Still

When my brother was a boy, he loved to leave pennies on the railroad tracks up the street from our house and wait for the freight train to flatten them as it zoomed by.

This scared my mother to death. I don't know that she ever found a flattened penny in the pocket of his jeans or heard it rattling around in the clothes dryer. More likely, she got regular dispatches from the neighborhood gossips reporting for duty.

Keep reading... Show less

Close