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U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday said that a “witch’s brew” of bad actors and extremist groups including Antifa are largely responsible for ongoing riots in many cities and that there is evidence “foreign actors” are involved.
“As I told the governors on Monday, we understand the distinction between three different sets of actors here,” Barr told a press conference. “The large preponderance of those who are protesting are peaceful demonstrators who are exercising their First Amendment rights.
“At some demonstrations, however, there are groups that exploit the opportunity to engage in such crimes as looting,” he continued. “And finally, at some demonstrations, there are extremist agitators who are hijacking the protests to pursue their own separate and violent agenda. (Barr’s full presser can be viewed below).
AG BARR: “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. We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides..” pic.twitter.com/c0NKFU3mdY
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 4, 2020
“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,” Barr noted further. “We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence.”
The AG said that the Justice Department was continuing efforts to restore order in Washington, D.C., and “around the nation.”
Barr says it's a "witch's brew of a lot of extremist organizations." Wray says longstanding terrorist investigations into a lot of anarchic extremists, including Antifa. And from city to city and even night to night, different groups are involved.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) June 4, 2020
When pressed for specifics, Barr noted that the DoJ and other intelligence agencies have identified a “witch’s brew of a lot of extremist organizations” that are involved in fomenting violence at protests that are initially organized in response to the death of Minnesota man George Floyd at the hands of police last week.
The AG noted that Antifa is just one such group, but that there are several others that are also provoking violence, participating in it, or providing the means to commit violence.
Barr says Antifa is just one of the extremist groups that they have found to be provoking violence. Many extremist groups are egging on, participating in, or providing the means of violence. Also warns of disinformation w/ people falsely claiming to be one group or another.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) June 4, 2020
On that last point, Fox Nation’s Lara Logan retweeted a post by former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik noting that an increasing number of incendiary devices, along with other ‘weapons’ like pallets of bricks, are being discovered by police in areas where violent riots break out.
Not to mention the logistics on the ground, comms equipment, palettes of bricks, incendiary devices they are finding stashed near riot sites, stolen cars found moving these incendiary devices etc etc…. https://t.co/FmVVJNAwQT
— Lara Logan (@laralogan) June 1, 2020
In his post, Kerik noted that it would take logistical infrastructure — money, communications, personnel, planning — to organize and pre-position explosive devices and other materials used to attack police and destroy infrastructure.
In Minneapolis, the epicenter of the Floyd-inspired protests, police have found incendiary devices that have been pre-stashed “across the city.”
Some devices have also been found by residents, who have also reported seeing armed men in vehicles that don’t have license plates.
On Monday, the Washington Times reported that U.S. officials are increasingly noticing that riots are being “organized” and that the protest “dynamic has changed,” according to U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams.
“It’s different here in Portland,” Williams told the Times. “At some point during each protest in individual cities, law enforcement has noticed a more organized effort as at some point during the evenings, protesters fan out and engage in the same kind of criminal conduct.”
He added that “people have been noticed in effect organizing those kinds of endeavors. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said it’s clear that Left-wing groups are largely responsible.
“I haven’t seen the reports on far-right groups. This is being driven by Antifa,” he said, the Times reported.
On Sunday, President Trump said he planned to designate Antifa a terrorist organization.
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