DHS warns of "increasing but modest" threats of violence from August Trump conspiracies

"Lone offenders and small groups of individuals could mobilize to violence with little-to-no warning"

By Brett Bachman
Published August 7, 2021 2:28PM (EDT)
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

The Department of Homeland Security said Friday in a bulletin obtained by ABC News that it was predicting an increasing, but "modest" likelihood of violence in connection with Trump-related election conspiracies.

It has become a talking point in far-right circles that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated during the month of August, most notably pushed by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. This week the Minnesota pillow magnate is hosting a "cyber symposium" in South Dakota, where he claims he will unveil irrefutable evidence of industrial-scale election fraud — evidence that will be used to propel Trump back into office one way or another.

DHS is warning that online chatter of violence in response to these claims is growing, though it did not cite any specific plot or network planning imminent attacks.

"Some conspiracy theories associated with reinstating former President Trump have included calls for violence if desired outcomes are not realized," the bulletin, which ABC obtained from DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis, reads. The network reported that the bulletin was sent to the department's state and local partner agencies.

"Past circumstances have illustrated that calls for violence could expand rapidly in the public domain and may be occurring outside of publicly available channels. As such, lone offenders and small groups of individuals could mobilize to violence with little-to-no warning," the bulletin adds.

A senior DHS official who spoke with ABC said the department learned from the Jan. 6 insurrection that an increase in online chatter may be an early signal of another upcoming attack on government institutions — though he reiterated that the bulletin does not indicate any specific threats.

"We don't want to overreact, but we want to make sure that we are at the earliest stage possible providing awareness to law enforcement and other personnel who are responsible for security and are critical to mitigating risk," the senior official said.


Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman is the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

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