- Associated Press - Monday, March 16, 2020

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man has been charged with threatening California Rep. Adam Schiff in a posting on the congressman’s website, federal authorities announced Monday.

Robert Phelps, 62, of Torrington, was arrested Friday on charges of threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official and making interstate threats. He posted $25,000 bail, officials said.

Phelps’ public defender declined to comment Monday. An email seeking comment was sent to Phelps.

Federal prosecutors and FBI agents say Phelps sent a message in November to Schiff, a Democrat, through a meeting request form on the congressman’s website. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, helped lead the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the U.S. House.

According to authorities, the message said, “I want to kill you with my bare hands.” In a section asking the writer’s preferred day of the week for the meeting, Phelps wrote, “Measure your Coffin day,” prosecutors said. He signed it, “Robert M. Phelps Republican,” according to federal agents.

During an interview at his home in December, Phelps admitted sending the threat, but did not see it as threatening, federal agents said. Phelps said he “had a right to contact members of Congress and defend ‘his president,’” agents said in the criminal complaint against Phelps.

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