Attorney General William Barr reportedly told U.S. federal prosecutors during a conference call last week that they needed to be aggressive in charging the violent rioters terrorizing American cities, adding that prosecutors should consider going after them for plotting to overthrow the U.S. government.
The conference call comes as the U.S. is just weeks away from the upcoming November elections, which Barr warned could spark even more violent riots than the ones that have already caused billions of dollars in damage. Barr reportedly encouraged prosecutors to consider charging the far-left extremists behind the violence with a rarely used sedition law.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
In more recent months, police officials say they are alarmed by the presence of armed fringe groups from both sides of the political spectrum. Mr. Barr has blamed much of the violence on leftist extremists including antifa, a loose network of groups and people that describe themselves as opposing fascism and which Mr. Barr has described as a movement advocating revolution.
In the call last week, Mr. Barr urged prosecutors to seek federal charges whenever possible, two of the people said. He listed a number of additional statutes they could potentially use, including one addressing conspiracies or plots to overthrow the government.
Earlier this week, a leaked email from a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed that the department has “overwhelming intelligence” that the extremist violence in Portland was “organized” by individuals with an ideology categorized as “Violent Antifa Anarchist Inspired” (VAAI).
One step that the feds have taken to get around local leftist prosecutors who are dropping many of the charges against those charged during the violent riots was deputizing police in Oregon so that federal charges could be sought against those who might escape local charges.
The Daily Wire reported:
Oregon State Police who are now charged with keeping the peace in Portland and its surrounding suburbs have been “cross-deputized” by the federal government, a local news organization revealed Wednesday, meaning that those arrested by Oregon state police officers can be prosecuted by the United States attorney for crimes stemming from the ongoing unrest even if the local prosecutor refuses to.
Federal officials would not reveal the full list of crimes they may prosecute even if the Multnomah County DA refuses, but federal officers did make a number of arrests while they were assigned to protect federal property in downtown Portland, including “trespassing on federal property, arson, assaulting federal officers, failing to comply with a lawful order and creating a disturbance.”
It is also possible that the federal deputization will allow the U.S. Attorney’s office to investigate those individuals arrested for ties to larger, national organizations. Attorney General William Barr announced, back in June, that the federal government is treating “Antifa” — or “anti-fascists” — as a domestic terror organization and is seeking information on how the group organizes and moves money and supplies across state lines.
During a Fox News interview late last month, DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said that the feds were “targeting and reviewing” the heads of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and those who fund them in response to the violent riots and looting that have plagued America’s inner cities for most of the summer.
“Department of Justice is also targeting and investigating the head of these organizations, the individuals that are paying for these individuals to move across the country,” Wolf said. “What we know…is that we have seen groups and individuals move from Portland to other parts of the country. We had about about 175 arrests in Kenosha, almost 100 of them were from out of state. So, we know they are moving around. We have seen them in D.C., in Sacramento, and elsewhere. They are organized. We have seen similar tactics being used from Portland and other cities across the country as well. So, we know that there is organization. I know the Department of Justice is also looking at that as well.”