A group of Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), is asking federal authorities for a full accounting of threats posed by QAnon, the burgeoning fringe movement peddling bizarre conspiracies that involve President Donald Trump rooting out satanist pedophiles in government.
On Tuesday, Schumer and 13 Democrats sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Joseph Maher, a top official at the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence division, requesting a written brief on the QAnon threat domestically.
“QAnon conspiracy theories have inspired acts of domestic extremism and violence, sought to undermine democratic institutions, and contributed to hatred in the United States and overseas,” wrote the Democrats, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Daily Beast.
They also requested analysis on “the role of foreign influence actors in nurturing and amplifying QAnon,” citing reports that foreign actors, such as Russia, have used the conspiracy theory as part of its toolkit to inflame political division and racial tension in the U.S.
The FBI has previously classified QAnon as a possible source of domestic terrorist violence. In 2018, an armed Q believer blocked a bridge near the Hoover Dam with an armored truck, demanding that Trump make a certain Q prediction happen, for instance.
In September, Wray was asked about QAnon during testimony in front of the House Homeland Security Committee, and called it “less of an organization and more of a complex set of conspiracy theories." In October, the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning QAnon; the text listed several incidents in which Q believers plotted or threatened violence linked to the conspiracy theory.
Trump has repeatedly expressed sympathy for the conspiracy movement that venerates him. In a meeting with top Republicans after the November election, Trump praised QAnon as a group that believes in “good government,” reported The Washington Post.
The Democrats requested the FBI and DHS findings on QAnon be made public. Joining Schumer in signing the letter were key lawmakers such as Sens. Heinrich and Ron Wyden (D-OR), members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), the top Democrat on the committee overseeing DHS, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).