In a stunning announcement Thursday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Trump administration has evidence that not only are radical Left-wing elements leading the ongoing looting and rioting around the country, but they are being encouraged and influenced by “foreign actors.”
“While many have peacefully expressed their anger and grief, others have hijacked protests to engage in lawlessness – violent rioting, arson, looting of businesses, and public property, assaults on law enforcement officers and innocent people, and even the murder of a federal agent. Such senseless acts of anarchy are not exercises of First Amendment rights,” Barr said.
“They are crimes, designed to terrify fellow citizens and intimidate communities. As I told the governors on Monday, we understand the distinction between three different sets of actors here,” Barr continued.
“The large preponderance of those who are protesting are peaceful demonstrators who are exercising their First Amendment rights,” he added.
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“At some demonstrations, however, there are groups that exploit the opportunity to engage in such crimes as looting. Finally, at some demonstrations, there are extremist agitators who are hijacking the protests to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” the attorney general noted further.
“We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity, and we are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence. The Department of Justice is working to restore order in the District of Columbia and around the nation,” he said.
The full press conference is below, but AG Barr speaks first. Watch:
The shocking news comes on the heels of an announcement Sunday that President Donald Trump was preparing to designate Antifa a domestic terrorist organization.
While most protests around the country to call attention to the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last week have been peaceful, Barr noted that others continue to be influenced by outside nefarious elements. As to the “foreign actors,” Barr did not elaborate.
He did say, however, that the Justice Department is receiving “real-time intelligence” and has “deployed resources to quell outbreaks of violence in several places.”
“When I was attorney general in 1992, riots broke out in Los Angeles following the acquittal by the state of police officers accused of beating Rodney King. Ultimately, the Department of Justice, at my direction, filed federal civil rates charges against his officers. As President [George H. W.] Bush assured the nation at that time, ‘The violence will end. Justice will be served. Hope will return.’ The same is true today. The rule of law will prevail,” Barr said assuredly.
Regarding the rioting and some of the real-time intel Barr may be receiving, we reported Wednesday that local police and residents are finding pre-positioned stores of bricks and “incendiary devices” in places where violence breaks out.
Included in the findings are small bottles filled with gasoline and pallets of bricks, according to various reports.
U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams has said “people have been noticed in effect organizing” violent protests involving devices and bricks. “And that’s all I’m going to say about it.