(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Today, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) demanding the agencies investigate the reports of white supremacists interfering in peaceful protests, following the Administration’s persistent efforts to blame “Antifa.”
“We are troubled that the Trump Administration has repeatedly levied baseless accusations against demonstrators protesting racial discrimination in the U.S. criminal justice system by labelling them ‘Antifa’ terrorists, while refusing to condemn or even acknowledge white supremacists and other far-right extremists who have sought to exploit the protests to advance their own racist ideological objectives and plans for a race war,” the Chairs wrote.
At demonstrations across the country, far-right extremists have appeared, sometimes with assault rifles, as part of a loosely organized network of white supremacist and anti-government organizations seeking to spark violence between activists and police forces.
Officials in multiple jurisdictions have discovered evidence of white supremacists sowing discord among peaceful demonstrations, and social media companies have deactivated nearly 200 accounts linked to white supremacists after they promoted violence and encouraged supporters to bring weapons to protests.
“The Trump Administration’s decision to ignore the involvement of white supremacist groups in these protests in favor of spreading wildly exaggerated rumors about Antifa has only served to encourage right-wing militias provoking violence, to delegitimize the grievances of peaceful protestors, and to add serious danger, intimidation, and fear to already emotionally charged situations,” the Chairs wrote.
The Administration has failed to produce evidence supporting these allegations, and none of the 50 people charged by the Department of Justice in connection with the recent protests has been linked to Antifa.
“People of all races are coming together across the nation to peacefully protest police brutality against African Americans and the structural racism that has brought America to this moment of reckoning,” the Chairs wrote. “The infiltration of peaceful protests by white supremacists seeking to incite violence is a serious danger to public safety and should be a major focus of the Department’s attention, not an inconvenient truth to be swept under the rug.”
Click here to read the letter to DHS.
Click here to read the letter to DOJ.