WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — "The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization," said President Trump via Twitter Sunday evening, adding, "The Lamestream Media is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy. As long as everybody understands what they're doing, that they're fake news and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to Greatness!"
The president's tweet came as chaos, riots and violent protests erupted across the country after George Floyd, an African-American man, died on May 25th after a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. That officer has been charged with third-degree murder.
At least 50 large demonstrations have taken places across cities in the U.S., while the National Guard have been deployed to Minnesota and numerous other states in an attempt to quell the violence.
The president and other political leaders across the United States have often criticized and blamed "Antifa" – a contraction of the word “Anti-Fascist” that's come to be associated with a diffuse movement of left-wing protesters – for escalating protests with their hyper-aggressive techniques of destruction, as well as tactics of looting and vandalism.
After days of continued protests throughout the country, President Trump now wants to hold the anti-fascist group Antifa responsible. And, he wants to officially designate them a terrorist organization.
“They’re indiscriminate, their violent destruction deprives lawful citizens of their right to really get the issues addressed,” said Pennsylvania Cong. Fred Keller (R-PA) recently, noting he doesn’t want bad actors to distract from the message of the protests.
Mr. Trump also criticised the Democrat mayor of Minneapolis for failing to control the protests, and praised the efforts of the National Guard in stopping the riots.
Tweeted Trump earlier in the week: " Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night. The ANTIFA led anarchists, among others, were shut down quickly. Should have been done by Mayor on first night, and there would have been no trouble!
"Other Democrat-run Cities and States should look at the total shutdown of Radical Left Anarchists in Minneapolis last night. The National Guard did a great job, and should be used in other States before it is too late!"
The National Guard is the U.S. Reserve Military Force for domestic emergencies. They were called in after Mr. Floyd died on Monday.
Legal scholars, however, quickly noted that President Trump may have trouble classifying the groups as a "terroist organization." Even if Antifa were a formal organization, the laws that permit the federal government to deem entities terrorists and impose sanctions against them are limited only to foreign groups.
Despite periodic legislative proposals to create one, there is no Domestic Terrorism Law that exists. And in its current form, "Antifa" is not a formal organization. It does not have a leader, membership roles, or any defined centralized structure. It exists as a vaguely defined movement of people who share common protest tactics and targets.
“There is no authority under law to do that — and if such a statute were passed, it would face serious 1st Amendment challenges,” said Mary B. McCord, a former head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Right now, the only terrorist authority is for Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”
In previous dealings with groups where domestic terrorism investigations have been undertaken, the F.B.I. has treated them as criminal enterprises.
Nevertheless, in a statement after Mr. Trump’s tweet, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the F.B.I. would use its partnerships with State & Local Police to identify violent protesters – whom he also called domestic terrorists.
“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,” said Barr.
“Right now, I think the president and attorney general want to know what the F.B.I.’s been doing to surveil, disrupt, and to take down Antifa – to prosecute them,” said Mr. Trump’s National Security Adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, during appearances on CNN and ABC News last Sunday.
O’Brien said the F.B.I. needed to “come up with a plan” to deal with Antifa.
“This isn’t the first time they’re out there. They are using military-style tactics, and traveling around the country to take advantage of these situations and burn down our cities,” O’Brien told ABC 's “This Week.”
“The president’s outraged by that. We all are, and that has to stop,” O'Brien said.