Republican Lawmakers Question FBI on Nashville School Shooting

Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mary Miller sent a letter to the FBI Tuesday pressing the bureau to investigate the Nashville shooting as a domestic terrorist attack.

On Monday, six people were killed at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, after 28-year-old Audrey Hale open fired at the private Christian school before being shot dead by police. Nashville Police Chief John Drake has since reported that Hale, a transgender person, once attended the private elementary school, and had targeted the school in a manifesto recovered by local law enforcement after the mass shooting.

Community members on Tuesday pay their respects at a makeshift memorial for the six people who were killed Monday in the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mary Miller want the FBI to investigate the school shooting as a domestic terrorist attack.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty/Getty Images

Greene, of Georgia, and Miller, of Illinois, addressed the manifesto in their letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday, which was first obtained by the Daily Caller. The congresswomen also wrote in their one-page letter that Hale “self-identified as a member of the transgender political ideology.”

“You have claimed in prior congressional testimony that the FBI considers domestic terrorist attacks conducted based on the attacker’s race, gender, and political ideology to be the greatest threat our nation faces,” read the letter to Wray.

The lawmakers continue to ask Wray if, based on the circumstances of the Nashville shooting and his “prior testimony” about domestic terrorist threats, “Is the FBI Memphis Field Office investigating this attack on a Christian school as a terrorist attack conducted based on the attacker’s ‘manifesto?'”

Miller posted a link to the Daily Caller’s initial report on Twitter, writing: “The FBI must treat the horrific attack in Nashville as a domestic terrorist attack based on the attacker’s transgender political ‘manifesto’ & intentional targeting of Christians.”

Greene also posted about the letter on her personal Twitter account. The Georgia representative’s congressional account was reportedly suspended earlier in the day after sharing unfounded information about a “Trans Day of Vengeance,” a purportedly planned event by the Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN). Greene and Miller specifically asked Wray in their letter if the FBI is “investigating organizations that are encouraging individuals to engage in violence based on political ideology, including ‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ being promoted on the internet.”

Some conservative figures have claimed that the TRAN event, reportedly planned for this weekend, is related to The Covenant School shooting, although there is currently no evidence to suggest that Hale’s actions were motivated by their gender identity or by TRAN. Newsweek has not been able to independently verify some reports about TRAN or the event, but can confirm that the group is real and its account on Twitter, which is blocked from public viewing, has around 404 followers.

The letter from Greene and Miller echoes a separate letter sent by Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley on Tuesday, which called on Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to investigate the Covenant shooting as a religious hate crime.

Other prominent conservative figures have also sparked debate by claiming gender-affirming drugs may have played a role in Monday’s mass shooting, include Greene, who previously raised questions on whether Hale was receiving any such medication. Greene and Miller asked Wray in their letter if Hale was taking medications for “hormone therapy” or “mental health,” and if the drugs could have had an impact on Hale’s mental and physical state.

Republican Senator John Kennedy, of Louisiana, also pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland about whether he intended to open a hate-crime investigation into the shooting while the attorney general testified before a Senate Appropriations hearing Tuesday afternoon.

“As of now, motive hasn’t been identified,” Garland responded, adding that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were working with local police to investigate the mass shooting.

“We are certainly working full time with them to determine what the motive is and of course motive is what determines whether it’s a hate crime or not,” he added.

Hale’s manifesto has not been released to the public. While there have been some calls for law enforcement to do so, other groups advocating for LGBTQ+ rights have cautioned against the idea, warning of potential “serious consequences” if Hale’s writings were made public.

“While it would certainly give insight into the motivations of this deeply troubled individual that could help shed light into root causes, we know from tragedies like this that additional glorification of the shooter could inspire others to take similar violent acts for attention,” Charles Moran, national president of Log Cabin Republicans, previously told Newsweek.

Newsweek has reached out to the FBI National Press Office via email for comment.

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