Matt Gaetz hints prosecutor won't press charges against threatening caller for political reasons

Matt Gaetz hints prosecutor won't press charges against threatening caller for political reasons
© Greg Nash

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTech finds surprise ally in Trump amid high-stakes tax fight US defense secretary can't label US base attack 'terrorism' at this point Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr MORE (R-Fla.), a vocal critic of the leadership of the Justice Department, hinted that a federal prosecutor is not pressing charges against a caller who threatened to kill him because of his criticism.

“I received word late last week that the U.S. attorney’s office ... had reviewed the information and had deemed these messages, and I’m quoting directly, a ‘non-threat.’ It’s obviously a crime, a federal crime, to make these types of threats against any federal official,” Gaetz told Fox News Tuesday evening.

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“I just wonder, is it the fact that I’ve been a critic of some of the senior officials of the FBI that maybe leads to different treatment for the people who threaten me as opposed to the people who actually get arrested who have threatened Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellDemocrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week The Hill's Morning Report - Dem dilemma on articles of impeachment Democrats debate scope of impeachment charges MORE, Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump Al Green calls for including Trump's 'racism' in impeachment articles MORE, Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump House moves ahead on long-stalled resolution supporting two states for Israelis and Palestinians MORE. Those people actually get arrested, whereas when people threaten conservatives, I hope there’s not a double standard,” he added, referring to three Democratic members of Congress.

The case revolved around a caller who phoned Gaetz’s office threatening to shoot him, citing his support for President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE and saying, “I’m coming after you.”

Gaetz said the decision by the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California to not bring charges could harm representatives’ abilities to serve their districts.

“They’re office made the determination that this was a closed matter, that they would bring no charges, and that we’re just supposed to deal with that,” he said. “When you have to have fidelity to some concern that someone’s going to kill you or kill your family or harm you at a public event, it erodes the representation that every member of Congress should be able to provide their district regardless of their viewpoint.” 

The office for the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Gaetz is a frequent critic of the Justice Department, saying during the 2016 campaign and after Trump was elected that it overstepped its bounds in investigating allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the presidential race.