Trump gave no other details in his early communications, but it marks a major step in limiting actions by the mask-wearing group that has been at the heart of many major protests.
Antifa is shorthand for “anti-fascist.” It is a loosely organized coalition of activists and self-described anarchists who seek to physically confront what they consider the far right.
The American Civil Liberties Union said on its website that the USA Patriot Act “expanded the definition of terrorism to cover “”domestic,”” as opposed to international, terrorism. A person engages in domestic terrorism if they do an act “dangerous to human life” that is a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, if the act appears to be intended to: (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.
“Additionally, the acts have to occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States and if they do not, may be regarded as international terrorism.
“Section 802 does not create a new crime of domestic terrorism. However, it does expand the type of conduct that the government can investigate when it is investigating “terrorism.” The USA PATRIOT Act expanded governmental powers to investigate terrorism, and some of these powers are applicable to domestic terrorism.”
President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have been claiming radical leftist and anti-fascist organizers as key drivers of street violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Others have blamed Boogaloo, a similar organization that aims to bring about a second Civil War.
“This is being driven by Antifa,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “And they did it in Seattle. They have done it in Portland. They have done it in Berkeley. This is a destructive force of radical — I don’t even know if we want to call them leftists. Whatever they are, they’re — they’re militants who are coming in and burning our cities, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
We’ll update as more information becomes available.
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