In a memo released on Friday, Attorney General Bill Barr announced the formation of a Justice Department task force to combat anti-government extre
In a memo released on Friday, Attorney General Bill Barr announced the formation of a Justice Department task force to combat anti-government extremist groups, such as Antifa and those who support the “Boogaloo” movement.
The document cites “significant threats to the rule of law,” and “indefensible acts of violence” as the rationale behind the formation of the group.
“Amid peaceful demonstrations protected by the First Amendment, we have seen antigovernment extremists engaged in indefensible acts of violence designed to undermine public order,” Barr wrote. “Among other lawless conduct, these extremists have violently attacked police officers and other government officials, destroyed public and private property, and threatened innocent people.”
He added, “Some pretend to profess a message of freedom and progress, but they are in fact forces of anarchy, destruction, and coercion.”
Barr claimed some of the anti-government extremist groups may be receiving funding from foreign entities, which are looking to sow seeds of chaos within the United States.
“We have evidence that anti-government violent extremists — including those who support the ‘Boogaloo,’ those who self-identify as Antifa, and others— will pose continuing threats of lawlessness,” he explained. “Some of these violent extremists, moreover, may be fortified by foreign entities seeking to sow chaos and disorder in our country. The Department of Justice will respond to these violent groups in the same way we respond to other organized criminal or terrorist networks — by disrupting their violent activities and ultimately dismantling their capability to threaten the rule of law.”
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“I am today directing the creation of a task force devoted to countering violent anti-government extremists,” he continued. “The task force will be co-headed by Craig Carpenito, U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, and Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas.”
The task force will work with the FBI to “develop detailed information about violent anti-government extremist individuals, networks, and movements—and will share that information as appropriate with federal, state, and local law enforcement, especially in places where these extremists pose a threat.”
It will also provide training and resources to local police and law enforcement, to help track down and arrest anyone perpetrating acts of violence.
“The ultimate goal of the task force will be not only to enable prosecutions of extremists who engage in violence, but to understand these groups well enough that we can stop such violence before it occurs and ultimately eliminate it as a threat to public safety and the rule of law,” the memo read.
Barr concluded, “This will not be an easy undertaking, but I am confident that the men and women of this Department are up to the challenge. The task force we create today will lead the way in this important law enforcement mission on behalf of the American people.”
This news comes on the same day that President Trump signed an executive order protecting American monuments, memorials and statues from being ripped down. The president said those who try to destroy them will be hit with prison time.
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“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” Trump tweeted. “Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”