Trump wanted to tell AG Garland that people around the US were enraged by the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago.
"The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?" was the message, per The New York Times.
Several people took to social media to interpret Trump's words as a veiled threat.
Former President Donald Trump attempted to convey a cryptic message to Attorney General Merrick Garland following the FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, a report says.
According to The New York Times, Trump wanted Garland to know that he had been speaking with people around the country and that they were enraged by the FBI search.
"The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?" was the message Trump wanted to be conveyed to Garland, a person familiar with the exchange told the paper.
A person close to the former president reached out to a Justice Department official to give Garland the message, the paper reported. It is not clear if the message reached him.
Robert Maguire, a research director at the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that the message appeared to suggest that Trump can "fan the flames of violence."
Since news broke of the FBI raid, armed Trump supporters have protested outside an FBI office in Phoenix, Arizona, and a gunman was killed after trying to breach an FBI building in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A law enforcement source told CNN that the FBI is investigating an "unprecedented" number of threats against personnel following the Mar-a-Lago raid.
Trump attempted to convey the message to Garland shortly before the attorney general announced on Thursday that he had personally authorized the decision to seek a search warrant for Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, the paper said.
Trump and his allies had been publicly demanding that the search warrant be released, despite the fact that Trump already had a copy and had the ability to release it himself.
The following day, the search warrant was unsealed by a federal judge. Trump responded by alternately denying wrongdoing and baselessly implying that the FBI might have planted evidence.
The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago as part of an investigation into whether Trump mishandled government records by taking them from the White House.