Man Charged With Threatening Adam Schiff Said He “Likely Was Upset” by Fox News Segment

The expletive-laden phone call to Schiff’s Capitol Hill office was kind of terrifying.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), walks to the Senate Chamber inside at the U.S. Capitol. ritten questions from Senators on Wednesday. Mark Wilson/Getty

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After House Democrats introduced an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump on September 24 for allegedly abusing power to dig up dirt on former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joe Biden, Fox News, not surprisingly, responded with a torrent of rhetorical attacks against the Democrats generally and the House leadership in particular. Network stars Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson closely interrogated the motives of Democratic leaders, like speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), accusing Democrats of being in a state of “hysteria.”

As the political storm became more intense over the following days, one Arizona viewer allegedly decided to act. According to Arizona District Court documents and reporting from The Informant, “[o]n or about October 1, 2019,” Jan Peter Meister, a Tucson resident and convicted sex offender, picked up the phone, dialed Schiff’s Capitol Hill office, and left a profanity-laden voicemail:

“Go fuck your mother, you son of a bitch cause I’m gonna fucking blow your brains out you fucking piece of shit mother, fucker, you’re a fucking piece of shit. You fucking piece of shit mother fucker. Yeah watch. I’m gonna fuck your asshole you piece of shit son of a bitch. Yeah come get me. I guarantee I’ll fuck your brains out.”

During Meister’s subsequent arrest October 25, law enforcement agents found two pistols, one rifle and about 800 rounds of ammunition—weapons he wasn’t legally allowed to own because of his prior felony convictions. Between the threatening phone call and the charge of  unlawfully possessing weapons, Meister faces two felony counts and is pleading not guilty to both of them. He remains incarcerated, with a trial date slated for February 11.

A motion submitted by his lawyers requesting that the two charges be tried separately characterized Meister as a frequent Fox News viewer with an aversion to Democrats. According to the motion, when confronted by law enforcement at his arrest, “He told them that he watches Fox News and likely was upset at something that he saw on the news.” Though Meister said the phone call was “out of character” and apologized, he also declared that he “strongly dislikes the Democrats, and feels they are to blame for the country’s political issues.” 

The indictment is available here:

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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