(CNN) — “Lock and load” was one of the main comments in an online forum dedicated to former President Donald Trump on Monday night, shortly after it emerged that the FBI had searched his Mar -a-Lake in Florida.
Other posts were more explicit: “I’m just going to say it. [El fiscal general Merrick] Garland needs to be killed. Simple as that.” Another user posted, “kill all the feds.”
Users also encouraged others to post the address of the judge they believe signed the search warrant. “I see a rope around his neck,” read a comment below a photo of the judge.
On the same forum, researchers previously found conversations about violence and discussions about attacking police officers in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.
Among the users of the forum on Monday night was an alleged insurrectionist.
One response to the top-rated “lock and load” post came from an account with the username bananaguard62, asking, “Aren’t we in a cold civil war right now?”
Reviewing bananaguard62 posts, Advance Democracy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts public interest research, identified Tyler Welsh Slaeker as the administrator of the account.
Slaeker was indicted by the Justice Department last summer in connection with the January 6 insurrection. Slaeker’s in-laws alerted the FBI to his presence on Capitol Hill, according to court documents, making him one of many Jan. 6 rioters reported by relatives.
He was initially charged with four nonviolent misdemeanors and pleaded guilty in June to one charge of entering a restricted building. His sentencing is scheduled for November.
NBC News was the first to report on Advance Democracy’s findings on Slaeker. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It can be hard to distinguish between empty and serious threats of violence online, but you can’t ignore it, said Daniel J. Jones, a former US Senate investigator who led the investigation into the CIA’s use of torture. and now runs Advance Democracy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts public interest research.
“We are seeing conspiratorial rhetoric from elected officials, political leaders and political artists that is fueling calls for violence in the real world,” Jones said. “Conspiratorial and divisive rhetoric, from elected officials and others who should know better, continues to undermine our institutions and democracy at an alarming rate.”
A congressional security official told CNN that shortly after news of the search warrant broke Monday night, the US Capitol Police began discussing monitoring and planning for possible rhetoric. violent.
Of particular concern is the possibility that the violence could be directed at members of Congress or other federal law enforcement, the security official said.
Capitol Police declined to comment on security plans.
One post CNN found called for violence against FBI agents. The FBI declined to comment on the post or broader security concerns due to violent rhetoric.
Following the Jan. 6 attack, alternative social media platforms became more popular among Trump supporters after companies like Facebook and Twitter banned Trump and other prominent figures who spread election conspiracy theories.
Those platforms, like Trump’s own Truth Social site, are touted as bastions of free speech, with looser rules and moderation. But that can result in the proliferation of violent rhetoric. CNN reported in June how threats against members of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 circulated on those platforms.
But talking about violence is not exclusive to the most marginal platforms.
There was an increase in tweets this Monday that mentioned “civil war”; at some points, more than one tweet per second, according to a CNN review of data from Dataminr, a service that tracks Twitter activity. While some mentions of “civil war” came from Trump critics who expressed fear about what his supporters might do, a researcher published several screenshots of Twitter accounts openly calling for a civil war.
Jones, whose group Advance Democracy has been tracking online threats since Monday’s FBI raid, said posts by political leaders on his main social media accounts are fueling more violent rhetoric.
“The attack on Capitol Hill on January 6 showed that we cannot ignore calls for political violence online, no matter how fringe the theories behind those calls for violence may be,” Jones said.
CNN’s Whitney Wild and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.