- An Illinois man has been charged with threatening to kill a Republican member of Congress after becoming incensed at a political ad, the Justice Department said in a complaint.
- Randall E. Tarr of Rochester, Illinois, is accused of leaving a voicemail for Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois in which he said he would like to shoot Davis’ “head off” after seeing him in a television ad.
- Tarr told the Associated Press that he had seen Davis say that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
- Since House Democrats announced the impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump and some GOP lawmakers have baselessly claimed that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election in a systematic way comparable to Russia’s.
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An Illinois man has been charged by federal prosecutors with threatening to kill a Republican member of Congress after becoming incensed at a political ad.
A complaint from the US attorney for the Central District of Illinois says 64-year-old Randall E. Tarr of Rochester, Illinois, left a voicemail for Rep. Rodney Davis in which he said he would like to shoot Davis’ “head off” after seeing him on television.
Tarr, who the complaint said identified himself as a “sharpshooter” who had served in the military for eight years, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on charges of communication of a threat to injure a person and threatening a federal official, according to the affidavit.
Tarr told the Associated Press that he had seen a television ad in which Davis said Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
The affidavit contained a transcription of the expletive-laden voicemail, saying Tarr told Davis, “You’re gonna go against our military and back the Russians?”
The AP report did not identify the exact commercial Tarr saw, but a representative for Davis told NBC News that the congressman believed the conclusion of the US intelligence community that Russia was responsible for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, though the report noted that he previously appeared to be open to further investigation.
Ukraine has been at the centre of talking points for President Donald Trump and his allies after House Democrats opened their impeachment inquiry into the president. Trump is accused of seeking to leverage a White House meeting and military aid to force Ukraine to announce two investigations that could benefit Trump politically.
Those investigations centered on the 2020 presidential contender Joe Biden as well as the conspiracy theory alleging Ukrainian election meddling.
Tarr was released from custody but is being monitored before he is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, the Justice Department said in the complaint.