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Man arrested on pipe bomb charges discussed attacking Twitter and Facebook, aimed to keep Trump president

A California man charged with possessing five pipe bombs talked about targeting Democrats, along with the social media giants Twitter and Facebook, as part of a discussion about going “to war” to ensure former President Donald Trump remained in the White House.

“I want to blow up a democratic building so bad,” the man, Ian Benjamin Rogers of Napa County, wrote in a text message detailed in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in California, which described a large array of firearms, ammo, bomb-making equipment and warfare manuals found in his possession.

“The democrats need to pay,” wrote Rogers, the owner of British Auto Repair of the Napa Valley.

In another text message, Rogers said he was “thinking sac office first target,” which an FBI agent said is suspected of being the Sacramento office of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.

“Then maybe bird and face offices,” Rogers wrote, according to the complaint filed in federal court for the Northern District of California.

“Sad it’s come to this but I’m not going down without a fight … These commies need to be told what’s up.”

The agent said the text appeared to reference Twitter, whose logo is a blue bird, and Facebook, “because both social media platforms had locked Trump’s accounts to prevent him from sending messages on those platforms” on the heels of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

Rogers in another text, which apparently referred to Trump being the 45th president, wrote, “I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn’t I will.”

Rogers, during an interview with FBI agents, “admitted that he had built the pipe bombs, but said they were for entertainment purposes only,” the complaint said.

But the complaint said those and other text messages indicate that Rogers believed, falsely, that Trump won the 2020 presidential election, and “his intent to attack Democrats and places associated with Democrats in an effort to ensure Trump remained in office.

“I further believe that the messages evince Rogers’s intent to engage in acts of violence himself locally if there was not an organized ‘war’ to prevent Joe Biden from assuming the presidency,” the FBI agent wrote.

The agent noted that Rogers, in a Jan. 10 text message, wrote, “We can attack Twitter or the democrats you pick … I think we can attack either easily.”

When the person he was texting suggested in response, “Let’s go after Soros” — the well-known liberal investor George Soros — Rogers replied that Twitter or Democrat would be “easy right now” while “Soros” would require a “road trip,” the complaint said.

The complaint said that in Jan. 15 raids on Rogers’ home and business, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Napa Special Investigations Bureau found a large gun safe at his business, which contained several guns and the five pipe bombs.

Other items found in the safe included materials used to make destructive devices, including black powder, pipes and end caps, the complaint said.

Authorities also found manuals that included “The Anarchist Cookbook,” the “U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook,” and “Homemade C-4: A Recipe for Survival,” as well as the U.S. Army Special Forces Guide to Unconventional Warfare,” and the Army’s “Guerilla Warfare Handbook.”

A Nazi flag also was found in his safe, according to a prosecutor.

In all, authorities seized 49 firearms from his home and business, including about two dozen ammunition boxes containing thousands of rounds of ammunition, the complaint said.

One of the firearms is “what appears to be a kit-built replica MG-42 belt-fed machine gun, appear to be capable of firing fully automatic,” the complaint said.

The MG-42 during World War II was German made and used by Nazi troops.

A sticker on a vehicle of Rogers has a symbol associated with the anti-government group the Three Percenters, according to the criminal complaint.

Rogers is not charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol by thousands of Trump supporters who launched a violent, but botched effort to get Congress to reject the election of Joe Biden as president. Five people died in connection with that riot, including a Capitol police officer beaten by people in the mob.

The FBI is continuing to search for people who left two pipe bombs outside the national headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees on the same day at that riot.

In addition to federal charge of unlawful possession of an unregistered destructive device, Rogers also is accused in state court of possessing illegal or unregistered firearms, authorities said.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.

Facebook had no immediate comment.

– CNBC’s Hannah Miao contributed to this report.

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