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 TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump 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 SlotkinDemocrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Bleak midterm outlook shadows bitter Democratic battle Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Americans blame politicians, social media for spread of misinformation: poll 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 BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE's own term.
Trump himself has reportedly told acquaintances that he expects to be reinstated in August.
Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act To Win 2022: Go big on reconciliation and invest in Latinx voters McConnell-aligned group targeting Kelly, Cortez Masto and Hassan with M ad campaign 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.