President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have sought to blame Antifa, which is short for anti-fascists, as a domestic terrorist group responsible for violence at protests against police violence.
On Tuesday, an investigation by Reuters failed to find evidence to back up their claim.
“Attorney General William Barr promised a crackdown on members of the anti-fascist movement known as antifa and other ‘extremists’ he blamed for helping to drive the violence,” Reuters reported. “But a Reuters examination of federal court records related to the charges, social media posts by some of the suspects and interviews with defense lawyers and prosecutors found mostly disorganized acts of violence by people who have few obvious connections to antifa or other left-wing groups.”
“In some of the charging documents reviewed by Reuters, no violent acts are alleged at all,” Reuters reported. “While Barr and President Donald Trump have repeatedly singled out antifa, an amorphous movement of primarily leftist anti-authoritarians (the name is derived from ‘anti-fascist’), as a major instigator of the unrest, the term does not appear in any of the federal charging documents reviewed by Reuters.”
On Saturday, the term “Antifa” appeared for the first time.
The case involved a Texas bodybuilder who was denied bail due to his ties to the right-wing Boogaloo movement, with Antifa only listed as a target of his violence.
“At Mr. Archibald’s detention hearing, prosecutors argued that the defendant posed a threat to the community, noting that the defendant, who has been tied publicly with the anti-government Boogaloo movement, used his social media accounts to advocate vigilante ‘guerrilla warfare’ against the National Guardsman patrolling Black Lives Matter protests. In a recent Facebook post, he claimed to be ‘hunting Antifa’ and threatened to ‘kill’ looters,” the Department of Justice wrote in a press release. “The Court granted the government’s motion and ordered Mr. Archibald detained pending trial.”
While Antifa was showing up in DOJ documents for the first time, the Boogaloo movement was also featured in a June 3rd press release from the Department of Justice.
“U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI, and Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced today that three alleged members of the ‘Boogaloo’ movement — a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society — have been charged with violations of federal and state law for conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas, and possession of an unregistered destructive device (specifically, an improvised incendiary device commonly known as a Molotov cocktail),” the DOJ announced.