- Brian Snyder/Reuters
- The FBI on Thursday said it had arrested Robert D. Chain, 68, of Encino, California.
- Federal officials say Chain threatened to kill employees of The Boston Globe in a number of phone calls.
- Chain referred to the press as the “enemy of the people” in his phone calls, echoing a phrase frequently used by President Donald Trump.
- In early August, experts at the United Nations warned Trump’s attacks against the press “increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence.”
The FBI on Thursday said it had arrested a Robert D. Chain, 68, of Encino, California. Federal officials say he threatened to kill employees of The Boston Globe in several phone calls in which he echoed the anti-media rhetoric of President Donald Trump.
Chain, who the FBI said made 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe in August, was charged with one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said.
He faces up to five years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
‘I’m going to shoot you’
“You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every f—ing one of you,” Chain said in one of the phone calls, according to court documents. “Hey, why don’t you call the F, why don’t you call Mueller, maybe he can help you out buddy. … I’m going to shoot you in the f—ing head later today, at 4 o’clock.”
Trump has routinely referred to the press as the “enemy of the people,” a phrase he used as recently as Thursday in a tweet. He has said he believes only “FAKE NEWS,” not the entire media, is the “enemy of the American people.” Trump said he feels a “large percentage” of the press qualifies as “FAKE NEWS.”
Chain’s phone calls reportedly began soon after The Boston Globe on August 10 announced it was calling on editorial boards at newspapers to engage in a “coordinated response” against Trump’s reference to the press as an “enemy.”
“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said at the time. Hundreds of newspapers ultimately answered the Boston newspaper’s call.
Trump has been broadly criticized for his “enemy of the people” rhetoric.
In early August, experts at the United Nations warned Trump’s attacks against the press “increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence.”
‘Today’s arrest of Robert Chain should serve as a warning to others’
Harold H. Shaw, the special agent in charge of the FBI investigation in Boston, said in a statement that “everyone has a right to express their opinion, but threatening to kill people, takes it over the line and will not be tolerated.”
“Today’s arrest of Robert Chain should serve a warning to others, that making threats is not a prank, it’s a federal crime,” Shaw added.