Trump reportedly wanted to tell Merrick Garland that the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago enraged Americans.
His message was said to be: "The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?"
Several people on social media suggested they'd interpreted Trump's words as a veiled threat.
Former President Donald Trump attempted to convey a cryptic message to Attorney General Merrick Garland following the FBI raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, The New York Times reported over the weekend.
The report said Trump wanted Garland to know he had been speaking with people around the country who were enraged by the FBI search.
A person familiar with the exchange told the paper that the message Trump wanted to be conveyed to Garland was: "The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?"
The Times said a person close to the former president had reached out to a Justice Department official to give Garland the message. It wasn't clear whether the message reached Garland.
Robert Maguire, a research director at the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the message appeared to suggest that Trump could "fan the flames of violence."
—Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) August 14, 2022
The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago on Monday as part of an investigation into whether Trump mishandled government records by taking them from the White House.
A law-enforcement source told CNN over the weekend that the FBI was investigating an "unprecedented" number of threats against personnel following the Mar-a-Lago raid.
The Times said Trump attempted to convey the message to Garland shortly before the attorney general announced on Thursday that he had personally authorized the decision to seek the search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.
Trump and his allies had been demanding that the warrant be released, though Trump already had a copy he could have released himself.
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