WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday suggested the FBI should stop investigating an incident in which his supporters were seen surrounding a Biden campaign bus in Texas, which led Democrats to cancel an event there.
The president’s tweet came hours after the FBI confirmed that it was “aware of the incident and investigating.”
On Sunday night, Trump retweeted a screenshot of the FBI statement, adding: “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”
An FBI spokesperson said the bureau had no comment about the president’s tweet.
Trump’s tweet come as tensions remained high between the president and FBI Director Christopher Wray, and as Trump has pressed the Justice Department and FBI to act against his rivals, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden himself. The president has also told people around him that he is frustrated with Wray over the FBI director’s public statements on issues like voting fraud, Russian election interference and antifa, and has discussed the possibility of removing Wray if he wins reelection.
In videos posted on Twitter, a group of cars and pickup trucks — many adorned with large Trump flags — can be seen riding alongside the campaign bus on Friday, and at times boxing it in, as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin. At one point, one of the pickup trucks can be seen colliding with an SUV that was driving behind the bus.
Neither Biden nor his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, was aboard the bus. The campaign canceled an event later in the day.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted a video of his supporters following the Biden campaign bus, adding, “I LOVE TEXAS!”
The Texas Democratic Party chairperson did not directly address the incident but said people should “ignore the noise and go vote.”
“Voting is the only thing that matters right now,” the chair, Gilberto Hinojosa, said in a statement.
This weekend, caravans of Trump supporters also blocked the Mario Cuomo Bridge in New York, which spans the Hudson River between Tarrytown and Nyack, and snarled traffic on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. Videos posted online showed some of the supporters hopping out of their cars on the bridge as rain fell on the roadway, waving Trump flags and cheering.
“We’ve never had anything like this. At least we’ve never had a president who thinks it’s a good thing,” Biden said during a campaign event in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Trump’s tweet on Sunday underscored the larger effort by the Trump administration to spotlight and crack down on protest-related violence, especially in cities run by Democratic mayors in an effort to showcase what Trump says is his law-and-order prowess. Trump has derided protesters and played up the violence around protests, though the majority of them have been peaceful.
The Justice Department has brought over 300 cases against defendants in unrest cases nationwide since May. An Associated Press review of thousands of pages of court documents found that very few of those charged appear to be affiliated with highly organized extremist groups, as the president has suggested.
2020 ELECTION COVERAGE
- California certified its presidential election Friday and appointed 55 electors pledged to vote for Democrat Joe Biden, officially handing him the Electoral College majority needed to win the White House.
- President-elect Joe Biden is eyeing several Democrats who lost congressional reelection races last month for key positions in his administration. They include outgoing Reps. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Donna Shalala of Florida and Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, saying the case must first wind its way through lower courts.
- The comments are especially direct coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies.
- Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results Monday in favor of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.
- A small number of ballots on Tuesday could decide an extremely short term in Congress as voters in Georgia pick the man who will succeed the civil rights legend John Lewis, if only for a few weeks.
- Gade teased a "major announcement" on social media over the weekend, leading to speculation he might step in to run in the Republican primary against State Senator Amanda Chase and former House Speaker Kirk Cox.
- Arizona officials certified the state's election results on Monday, formalizing Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory over Donald Trump even as the Republican president's attorneys continued to make baseless claims of fraud about the state's vote count.
- Arizona officials have certified Joe Biden’s narrow victory over President Donald Trump in the state.
- President Donald Trump said Sunday he was “ashamed” for endorsing the Republican governor of Georgia after he lost in the state to Democrat Joe Biden.