The FBI and Capitol Police want to talk with Rep. Maxine Waters’ 2018 Republican opponent about a fake letter he posted to Twitter that falsely indicated the congresswoman wants to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in her Los Angeles district.
The Republican candidate, Omar Navarro, said he will meet with FBI agents at his California campaign office Wednesday at their request.
In December, Waters formally asked the FBI and Capitol Police to investigate the letter, which appears to be on Waters’ House office stationery and includes her signature.
It is a federal crime to impersonate a federal official and misuse a federal seal.
Navarro told The Times after Waters filed the December complaint that someone he did not know sent his campaign the letter on Facebook, and he did not vet whether it was real before putting it online.
“I don’t know why they are looking into me since I’m not the one who fabricated the letter,” Navarro said Monday. He said he has not had contact with the person who sent him the letter since December.
Navarro has not deleted the tweet from his account and it continues to be retweeted, totaling more than 800 times as of this week.
He reacted online to the FBI meeting Monday, tweeting, “Let’s get this straight I tweet a letter which says Maxine Waters wants to bring 41,000 Somali refugees. I only tweet according to this document asking a question. Now the FBI is on me for her complaint. She threatens the president and his supporters and no investigation on her.”
Navarro said he’d like to have an attorney present at the meeting and may have to postpone it. He also said he is not the only person who shared the letter online, and said Waters' complaint was meant to divert attention from real issues of the district and create a false narrative about him.
The letter says the congresswoman wants to bring refugees to her congressional district after the 2018 election “and perhaps even once I have secured the Speaker of the House position.”
The letter contains several inaccuracies. It references multiple committees and subcommittees that Waters does not serve on, and lists an address for a district office that has been closed for nearly a decade.
In December, Waters’ chief of staff, Twaun Samuel, called it “a forgery and a fake.” In Waters’ complaint, the congresswoman said she had not communicated with the person the letter was addressed to — Teri Williams, president of the Los Angeles-based OneUnited Bank — about any refugee resettlement program. Samuel did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Navarro tweeted the letter, along with a message: “According to this document, Maxine Waters wants more terrorists, like the one who bombed NYC, in California’s 43rd District. As Congressman of CA’s 43rd District, I will oppose such policies.”
This is Navarro’s second bid for Waters’ seat. He is a popular conservative media figure on the far-right, drawing attention and campaign help from prominent conservative figures, including Herman Cain and Roger Stone.
Conservatives accused Waters of inciting violence against Republicans earlier this year when she said — after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant — that Trump administration officials should be confronted while leading their everyday lives.
Waters is serving her 14th term. Navarro received 14% of the vote in the June primary, coming in second to Waters, who received 72.3%.