Last week, a lieutenant in the US Coast Guard was arrested on gun and drug charges after investigators determined he sought to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."
According to a detention memo filed by prosecutors in Silver Spring, Maryland—a suburb of the nation's capital—Christopher Paul Hasson "is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct."
Hasson "conducted online searches and made thousands of visits for pro-Russian, neo-fascist, and neo-Nazi literature," the document alleges.
Investigators say Hasson "compiled a list of prominent Democratic Congressional leaders, activists, political organizations, and MSNBC and CNN media personalities."
Last month, Hasson performed the following Google searches after organizing his hit list:
8:54 a.m.: "what if trump illegally impeached"
8:57 a.m.: "best place in dc to see congress people"
8:58 a.m.: "where in dc to congress live"
10:39 a.m.: "civil war if trump impeached"
11:26 a.m.: "social democrats usa"
One of Hasson's targets was MSNBC host and former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough, a stalwart critic of President Donald Trump.
On Thursday morning, Scarborough said Trump is responsible for the recent plots against journalists and political operatives.
"We've seen people who are unhinged... who listen to conspiracy theories that are fanned by the president and his supporters," Scarborough said, "and then you have the president of the United States instead of tamping down these conspiracy theories, actually stirring them up."
"This is pretty simple. It’s all on the president’s shoulders. It’s all the president’s fault, and he sits there with his mouth shut, for once in his life, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t tweet anything, which, of course, makes it even more on him.”
Scarborough accused Trump of being an "autocrat in training" for using "Stalinist phrases like ‘enemies of the people’ that only tyrants have used in the past," which is the president's favorite line of attack against negative media coverage. The New York Times is a frequent subject of Trump's ire.
On Wednesday morning, shortly before the Hasson story broke, Trump tweeted:
"The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"
The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1550670553.0
Scarborough believes this is no coincidence.
“He writes that in the morning and in the afternoon we have this conspiracy to actually kill top Democratic lawmakers who oppose Donald Trump and journalists who dare to report the truth about Donald Trump,” said Scarborough.
Scarborough assailed Trump for having not uttered a single word in support of law enforcement or condemning the actions and intent of Hasson and those like him.
Scarborough is far from alone in his concern over the potential consequences of Trump's words.
@HuffPost Absolutely what is happening is his fault...— Margs (@Margs) 1550761373.0
@HuffPost I agree with Joe. The president is out of control with his hateful rhetoric. It is time Twitter starts to… https://t.co/BjZuBcAgAF— Alan R Dyer (@Alan R Dyer) 1550761200.0
@HuffPost He’s 100% correct!— ralph gargaro (@ralph gargaro) 1550761725.0
@HuffPost Truth https://t.co/LZyrK07Czw— ispeaksmymind (@ispeaksmymind) 1550760899.0
@HuffPost Happy the joe Scarborough Isn’t afraid to speak out this president is a danger to Americans— BARBARA BRUST (@BARBARA BRUST) 1550761169.0
@HuffPost Everyone on TV should be making the connection to tRump. People died and will continue to die because of his rhetoric.— May Cope (@May Cope) 1550761615.0
An armed white supremacist terrorist searched for where @JoeNBC lived after reading a headline in which Scarborough… https://t.co/Gm5KczJKCZ— Brendan Nyhan (@Brendan Nyhan) 1550709570.0
Others pointed out that Trump's demand for a border wall with Mexico would do nothing to curb the resurgence of violent white nationalism, which has spiked under Trump.
And there is no way of knowing how many of them are out there.
@HuffPost You see people...this is why we need a wall! Oh wait, never mind. I guess he didn’t come over from Mexico.— Eric D (@Eric D) 1550760969.0
@MSNBC @JoeNBC And fake national emergencies? Maybe the next one will be like the Reichstag decree of 1933, subvert… https://t.co/PjSbSDW1XY— Bob B (@Bob B) 1550768317.0
@MSNBC @JoeNBC how many of these folks walk among us?— salvatore j fallica (@salvatore j fallica) 1550755010.0
Scarborough was one of the dozens of public figures whom Hasson conspired to kill.
Other media targets listed in Hasson's manifesto included MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Ari Melber as well as CNN's Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.
Elected officials were also in Hasson's crosshairs.
"Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and House Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Ilhan Omar and Sheila Jackson. Also on it was former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta," noted NBC News.
One law enforcement official told NBC that Hasson was using a government server at work to access "extremist sites."
The official said Hasson "wasn't too surprised to be arrested, but he was worried about law enforcement officers entering his home."
Hasson had good reason to be nervous. Fifteen guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition were confiscated from Hasson's home, and investigators found that Hasson was abusing Tramadol and human growth hormone.
Hasson's personal writings offer a glimpse into the potential catastrophe that was prevented by law enforcement.
"I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth," Hasson wrote in a chilling letter to himself. "I think a plague would be most successful but how do I acquire the needed/ Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet but will find something."
Hasson described himself in another letter as "a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military."