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Trump to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization, wants FBI to pursue members

National security adviser says president wants FBI to surveil, disrupt and prosecute group's members involved in violence

Published: May 31, 2020 1:00pm

Updated: June 1, 2020 4:44pm

President Trump declared Sunday that he will designate the radical liberal group Antifa as a terrorist organization after a week of violent riots across the country.

"The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization," the president announced in a midday tweet.

The president's announcement came after another night of rioting across the country over the death of an African-American man at the hands of Minneapolis police. Cities across the country were consumed by clashes between protesters and police and countless fires and other criminal acts ranging from looting and theft to assault on officers and the use of incendiary devises.

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that the rioting in most cities was being instigated by outsiders aligned with Antifa.

“The reports we're receiving is that this is Antifa. They're crossing state lines," O'Brien said. "And we've seen this happen before. We saw it in Portland. We saw it in Seattle. We saw it in Berkeley. So, look, we'll keep our eyes open for anyone else that wants to take advantage of the situation, whether it's domestic or foreign.

“But right now I think the president and Attorney General want -- [William] Barr wants to know what the FBI has been doing to surveil, to disrupt, to take down Antifa, to prosecute them," he added. This isn't the first time they're out there and they're using military-style tactics and traveling around the country to take advantage of these situations and burn down our cities. And that can't be tolerated.”

Antifa, which stands for "anti-fascist," is a movement that lacks official leaders, but encompasses local groups, according to the New York Times. Supporters have said the group's goals justify the use of violence.

Some of the group's tactics include throwing  bricks, crowbars, metal chains, water bottles, and balloons filled with urine and feces, according to the Anti- Defamation League.


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