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R.I. congressman Cicilline receiving threats as he leads drive to impeach Trump

‘They want to make you afraid to do the things you know are right,’ he says. ‘We can’t allow that to happen.’

Representative David Cicilline (left) on Monday introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump.ERIN SCHAFF/NYT

PROVIDENCE — US Representative David N. Cicilline is receiving threats as he takes a lead role in impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

Cicilline, a Democrat who has represented Rhode Island since 2011, has reported the threatening phone calls to the US Capitol Police, spokesman Richard Luchette said Tuesday. The calls came into the congressman’s offices in Pawtucket and Washington.

“I get threats. There’s been an increase in the last few days,” Cicilline said while appearing on “MSNBC Live” on Tuesday. “We take them seriously; we pass them along to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.”

Cicilline has gotten national attention since he began drafting articles of impeachment with California Representative Ted Lieu while the two were locked down in Cicilline’s office during last Wednesday’s breach of the US Capitol.


On MSNBC, he said that domestic “terrorists” are trying to impede the work of Congress.

“They want to make you afraid to do the things you know are right,” Cicilline said. “We can’t allow that to happen. It doesn’t change in any way the work that I’m doing and the efforts that are currently under way, and it won’t for any of my colleagues.”

Cicilline said House Democrats have a “strong and resilient caucus” that won’t be intimidated. “This is a moment we all need to stand up and work together to defend and protect our democracy,” he said.

Luchette shared with the Globe recordings of some of the threatening phone calls.

“You poked the [expletive] bear this time, you little [expletive],” a man says in one recording. “You poked the bear. You understand what I’m saying? You’ve got 80 million [expletive] people coming after you, you commie little [expletive].”

In another call, a man says: “The Capitol drive was nothing. If Democrats keep pushing this stupid [expletive] agenda that they have had the last four years, they are going to see their lives go up in flames.”


One caller curses and uses anti-Italian slurs, saying: “You are going to wake a sleeping giant, and we are going to crush your [expletive]. Go ahead, get some more of the unintended consequences.”

And in another call, a man says, “If you impeach him, civil war is on.”

Cicilline’s fellow Rhode Island Democrat, US Representative James R. Langevin, has not been getting threats; most of his calls have been from people supporting impeachment, a spokesman said.

Langevin announced his support for removing Trump from office the day after the “Stop the Steal” insurrection at the Capitol last week. If the 25th Amendment isn’t invoked to relieve Trump of his duties, then Congress should impeach and convict Trump, he said.

Spokesman Victor Morente said Tuesday morning that Langevin was in Washington, prepared for the impeachment vote, and “he’s going to do his duties as a congressman.”

Democratic US Senator Jack Reed has not received threats, spokesman Chip Unruh said.

But, he said, “There are serious public safety concerns right now, and Senator Reed is working to try to be a constructive force in addressing them. It’s not just about Senator Reed’s personal safety — it’s about public safety and our democracy.”

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv. Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.