Rep. Jim Jordan, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, asked Attorney General William Barr for a briefing on the far-left group antifa.
In his Wednesday letter, the Ohio Republican blamed antifa and “other left-wing extremists” for the deaths of several civilians, including 77-year-old David Dorn (a former police captain), as nationwide protests have erupted over police brutality. He then asked for additional information on how the Justice Department would label the group as terrorists.
“I also ask the Department to explain how designating Antifa as a terrorist organization would affect the Justice Department’s authority to identify, prevent, and prosecute rioting, looting, and violence perpetuated by left-wing violent extremists,” he wrote.
Jordan asserted that antifa, an anti-fascist group, and organizations like it have no interest in peacefully protesting police violence following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd and applauded the Trump administration for launching a civil rights investigation, in conjunction with the FBI, into the event leading to Floyd’s death.
“Antifa and other left-wing groups have misused lawful protests about Floyd’s death as cover to advance their goals of death and destruction. This anarchy is never acceptable,” he said. “The President rightly responded by announcing that the United States would designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. I agree with the President’s action and hope the designation occurs promptly. Our country must not tolerate left-wing violent extremists who seek to tear down communities through senseless violence, rioting, and looting.”
Nearly two weeks ago, Trump blamed antifa for the criminal activity that has occurred across the country in several cities, including looting, arson, and major clashes between protesters and law enforcement, promising that the United States would designate antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.
The American Civil Liberties Union took issue with the president’s announcement shortly after, raising concerns about the First Amendment and due process protections in the Constitution.
“Terrorism is an inherently political label, easily abused and misused. Let’s be clear: There is no legal authority for designating a domestic group. Any such designation would raise significant due process and First Amendment concerns,” the ACLU tweeted in response to the president.
Barr has already declared that the violence being “instigated and carried out” by “antifa and other similar groups” in connection to nationwide protesting is “domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
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