A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told members of Congress on Wednesday that there is concern in the department regarding conspiracy theories that former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE will be reinstated in August, Politico reports.
Sources familiar with the exchange said top DHS counterterrorism official John Cohen shared these concerns while speaking in a members only briefing with the House Homeland Security Committee.
Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinBiden approval ratings drop in seven key congressional districts: GOP-aligned poll House panel approves B boost for defense budget The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Biden tested by Afghanistan exit, Ida's wrath MORE (D-Mich.) reportedly asked Cohen how DHS is monitoring the spread of disinformation and conspiracy as well as how they fuel violence, specifically pointing to the Trump reinstatement conspiracy theory that has become popular among QAnon followers.
According to Politico's sources, Cohen said that DHS had not found anything linking violence to the conspiracy theory that Trump will be reinstated, though he did say the department was following online discussions in extremist communities.
Cohen said that DHS was highly concerned about the conspiracy theory, however, as it fuels the narrative that the election was rigged, which could in turn spark violence among extremists.
When reached for comment, a DHS spokesperson said the agency is "focused on the nexus between violence and extremist ideologies, as well as hateful and false narratives. DHS is enhancing its ability to prevent acts of violence inspired by disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extremist narratives spread through social media and other online platforms."
A Hill-HarrisX poll released last week found that 30 percent of Republican voters believe Trump will be reinstated in August, though there is no legal or constitutional maneuver that could feasibly return the former U.S. president to office in the midst of President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE's own term.
Trump himself has reportedly told acquaintances that he expects to be reinstated in August.
Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (D-N.Y.) said earlier in June that the large number of Republicans who believe this conspiracy theory is a “glaring warning on the persistent acceptance of the stolen election narrative."
“They believe him when he just abjectly lies. It is a glaring warning that the Big Lie has created fertile ground for all sorts of insane conspiracy," he said on the Senate floor, referring to Trump's belief that the election was stolen from him.
“Of course, the idea of 'reinstatement' comes from disgraced former President Trump himself and is nothing more than the deluded ramblings of a defeated politician,” Schumer added.
Updated on Friday at 1:50 p.m.