The FBI and U.S. Capitol Police are seeking an interview with Republican Omar Navarro, who is challenging Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in California’s 43rd congressional district, after he shared a “letter” from her office on Twitter that later turned out to be fake.
The unusual investigation came after Waters complained to the Department of Justice in December.
The letter, which is depicted in an image that mimics Waters’s official letterhead, indicates (falsely) that Waters intended to resettle 41,000 Somali refugees in “East & South Central Los Angeles.”
It adds that Waters wanted the refugees to be resettled “after the November  elections” and after Waters had “secured the Speaker of the House position” — a claim that some might regard as an obvious red flag, since House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made no secret of her ambition to return to her old position. Other elements of the letter are also false, including an outdated address.
The Los Angeles Times notes: “It is a federal crime to impersonate a federal official and misuse a federal seal.”
However, Navarro maintains that he only shared the letter and that he did not create it. “I don’t know why they are looking into me since I’m not the one who fabricated the letter,” he told the Times.
Waters has led Democrat calls to “Impeach 45!” — that is, to impeach President Donald Trump, whose name some Democrats refuse to say — and recently called on the public to harass members of the Trump administration.
She is not used to facing strong opposition, and Navarro is running an unusually energetic campaign, with high-profile endorsements and plenty of earned media from conservative outlets.
It is not a crime to share information about a public figure that is wrong. It is not even a matter of civil liability unless it is done with “actual malice” or “reckless disregard for the truth,” such as foreknowledge that the information being shared is wrong.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.