Rep. Ellison calls for DOJ to investigate Joe Walsh tweet
By Nolan D. McCaskill,POLITICO, July 14, 2016
“This particular statement bears significant weight because of Walsh’s position as a high-profile former Member of Congress,” Rep. Keith Ellison said. | AP Photo
Rep. Keith Ellison on Friday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether a former U.S. congressman’s tweet “constitutes a terroristic threat against” President Barack Obama, warning that its language could “incite violence.”
Following a shooting spree on Dallas police officers last week during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh declared, “This is now war.” The gunman who carried out the attack in Texas was a black man who admitted that he wanted to kill police officers, specifically white ones. Five officers died, and nine others were wounded.
“Watch out Obama,” Walsh said in a now-deleted tweet from June 7. “Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming.”
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, Ellison (D-Minn.) asked for an investigation into Walsh’s tweet.
“The tweet was subsequently deleted, but still went viral as members of the media and the public found and shared the statement,” Ellison said. “While Mr. Walsh claims that he did not intend to incite violence, he continues to stand by his statement, citing that the President is anti-police.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Walsh also tweeted that he wasn’t calling for violence against anyone but blamed “Obama’s words and BLM’s deeds” for the deaths of law enforcement.
Ellison, citing a statute from the U.S. Code that he said “classifies terrorist threats against the President as a Class E felony offense,” maintained that a threat against anyone is “unacceptable” — especially from someone of Walsh’s status.
“This particular statement bears significant weight because of Walsh’s position as a high-profile former Member of Congress,” he said. “As such, Mr. Walsh’s refusal to renege on the statement could result in real violence against the President or the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“Given the nature of Mr. Walsh’s statement and its potential to incite violence, we ask that you investigate whether or not this statement constitutes a terroristic threat against the President of the United States of America under relevant statute,” he concluded.
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