Threats against FBI 'sickening': Biden

·2-min read

US President Joe Biden has condemned violent threats against FBI agents who searched predecessor Donald Trump's home as "sickening" as he called for more police funding and an assault weapons ban in Pennsylvania.

Launching his first of three visits in a week to the political battleground, Biden angrily denounced people who have lashed out at federal law enforcement officials involved in the unprecedented search of the Republican former president's Florida home on August 8.

"It's sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI, threatening the life of law enforcement agents and their families for simply carrying out the law and doing their job," Biden said on Tuesday.

"I want to say it as clearly as I can. There is no place in this country - no place - for endangering the lives of law enforcement. No place. None. Never. Period. I'm opposed to defunding the police. I'm also opposed to defunding the FBI."

Earlier this month, the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security warned of an increase in threats following the search of Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago, when agents removed what prosecutors described as 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked top secret, as part of a criminal investigation.

In recent weeks, Biden has largely sidestepped conversations about the investigation, with the White House saying the Justice Department operates independently even though the risk of disclosing sensitive information has national-security implications.

Biden has sharpened his attack on members of the Republican Party devoted to Trump, a theme expected to play heavily in a major prime-time address during another visit to Pennsylvania on Thursday.

"Let me tell this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress. Don't tell me you support law enforcement if you won't condemn what happened on the 6th," he said, referring to the January 6, 2021 riot by Trump supports at the Capitol.

Tuesday's visit to the small city of Wilkes-Barre gave Biden an opportunity to address a key concern for voters in a critical state that helped lift the Democrat to the presidency and plays host to one of the closest-watched 2022 Senate races.

Biden criticised Republican lawmakers who have opposed his plans to fund law enforcement and cut gun violence.

Biden has called for Congress to pass an assault weapons ban as well as billions in funding for crime prevention programs and training thousands of new police officers.

Trump, who is flirting with challenging Biden for a second term in 2024, is expected to hold a rally in the same city on Saturday.