2020-06-01 00:02:25 UTC
As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the
designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist
organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was
Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after
prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media
commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people
associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").
*A senior White House official told me that on Sunday morning, President Trump
discussed the move with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Attorney
General Bill Barr.
*Then, at 12:23pm, Trump tweeted: "The United States of America will be
designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."
Yes, but: There currently is no law under which Trump could formally designate
antifa, a loosely defined and domestic movement, as a terrorist organization.
Only the State Department can designate foreign groups as terrorist
*Mark Bray, author of "Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook," wrote of Trump's
tweet: "To explain a little: it's like calling bird-watching an organization.
Yes, there are bird-watching organizations as there are Antifa organizations but
neither bird-watching nor antifa is an organization."
About an hour after Trump's tweet, Barr said in a statement that antifa
protesters were engaged in domestic terrorism.
*"To identify criminal organizers and instigators, and to coordinate federal
resources with our state and local partners, federal law enforcement is using
our existing network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces."
*"The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in
connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated