A tipster to the FBI provided information that Jonathan Xie had claimed in an online chat that he wanted to harm pro-Israel demonstrators and that he supported the Taliban and had donated money to Hamas. MoneyGram records showed that Xie had sent $100 to an individual in Gaza on December 20, 2018. Two days later, Xie wrote on Istagram: "Just donated $100 to Hamas. Pretty sure it was illegal but I don't give a damn." Xie also sent emails to al-Qassam Brigades, the militant wing of Hamas, asking how he can join the group, according to Gmail records the FBI obtained. Xie later posted a photo of Trump Tower in New York to Instagram with a bomb emoji over it. "[S]hould I bomb Trump Tower?" he asked as part of a yes/no poll on the photo-sharing site. In the Instagram comments, he then said he wanted to bomb both Trump Tower and the Israeli embassy.