President Donald Trump said on Sunday the U.S. government will designate anti-fascist group Antifa as a terrorist organization. President Trump made the announcement on Twitter, comes amid violent nationwide protests about police brutality following the death of a George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis seen on video gasping for breath as a white police officer knelt on his neck.
Several top officials from the Trump administration, including U.S. Attorney General William Barr, have blamed Antifa and other “agitators” for taking over the protests in U.S. cities. Barr said in a statement on Sunday following the president’s tweet, “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.”
Trump’s tweet Sunday is not the first time the president has described Antifa as a terrorist group. Other conservative politicians, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, have made similar statements. However even if the Trump administration pursues the designation through formal channels, it would typically require coordination across multiple federal agencies. Experts say Trump lacks the legal authority to do so.
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