President Trump on Sunday tweeted that he was preparing to designate anti-fascist activists known as antifa as a terrorist organization amid growing unrest over the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police, raising questions about his legal authority to do so.
“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump tweeted, as the nation reeled from another night of protests sweeping the country, from Minneapolis to Columbus, Ohio, to Washington, D.C.
His announcement came the same day Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would seek to identify “criminal organizers and instigators” amid the demonstrators, who have been protesting the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday.
Barr in his Sunday statement said the Department of Justice will work with its 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to focus on “apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law.”
“Preventing reconciliation and driving us apart is the goal of these radical groups, and we cannot let them succeed,” he said.
“The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” Barr added.
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