FBI Director testifies that 'Antifa is a real thing,' dispelling non-violent talking points

New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler called the recent Antifa violence in Portland, Ore., a "myth." 

Updated: September 18, 2020 - 2:16pm

FBI Director Christopher Wray is telling Congress that Antifa is "a real thing," responding to arguments by Democrats and others that the self-proclaimed "anti-fascist" group that has undermined the summer's social-justice demonstrations with violent, destructive protests does not exist.

"Antifa is a real thing. It's not a fiction," Wray told the House Committee on Homeland Security on Thursday. "But it's not an organization or a structure. We understand it to be more of a kind of a movement, or maybe you could call it an ideology."  

Some Democrats and others argue that the number one domestic terror threat is white supremacists, while Republicans and others argue that most of the country's domestic violence has been perpetrated by far-left groups. 

Wray acknowledged that white supremacist groups have been the biggest threat in recent years but said that radical anarchists, specifically those identifying themselves as Antifa members, have quickly become a real concern. 

Earlier this summer, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) called the recent Antifa violence in Portland, Ore., a "myth." 

"To be clear, we do have quite a number of properly predicated domestic terrorism investigations into violent anarchist extremists, any number of whom self-identify with the Antifa movement," Wray said Thursday. 

Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw pushed back on Wray's defining of Antifa as merely an "ideology." 

"It coordinates regionally and nationally, wears a standardized uniform, it collects funds to buy high-powered lasers to blind federal officers, build homemade explosive devices, feed the rioters since they clearly aren't working and then bail out those who have been arrested," Crenshaw said. "It formed an autonomous zone in an American city and besieged a federal courthouse in another, so, I mean, it just seems to be more than an ideology."

Committee Democrats attempted to draw lines of demarcation between the actions of radical Antifa members and Black Lives Matter supporters. Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee asked Wray, "Have you seen any excessive violence that can be attributable to Black Lives Matter as opposed to any other groups that may be involved in violence?"

Wray responded that he could not think of any off the top of his head. But he also said such groups are "motivated by a wide variety of ideologies and agendas."

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