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DOJ has 'evidence' that ​Antifa has been 'instigating and participating' in violence at riots, AG Barr says

Violent agenda

Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr announced on Thursday that the Justice Department now has evidence that Antifa has been involved in instigating violence at protests and riots across the country following George Floyd's death.

The announcement follows a statement made by the attorney general last week that blamed anarchistic and far-left 'Antifa-like' extremists for much of the violence at the protests.

"We understand the distinction among three different sets of actors," Barr said in a news conference alongside other department heads, including FBI Director Christopher Wray. "The large preponderance of those who are protesting are peaceful demonstrators who are exercising their First Amendment rights. At some demonstrations, there are groups that exploit the opportunity to engage in looting. And finally, at some demonstrations, there are extremist agitators who are hijacking the protests to pursue their own separate and violent agenda.

"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," he stated, adding that the Justice Department's efforts are primarily "focused on the violent instigators."

"We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence," Barr added.

Watch the attorney general's remarks below, the specific mention of Antifa begins at the 4:37 mark:

AG Barr, FBI Director Wray hold a press conference youtu.be

While both Barr and Wray specifically cited Antifa in their opening remarks, both also noted the vast array of different groups involved in provoking violence and chaos at the protests.

"There are some groups that don't have a particular ideology, other than anarchy and there's some groups that want to bring about a civil war — the 'Boogaloo' group that has been on the margin of this as well trying to exacerbate the violence," Barr said, according to ABC News. "So we are dealing with as I say a witch's brew of a lot of different extremist organizations."

Antifa, in particular, has drawn the ire of Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump for its alleged organized efforts to engage in violence and sow chaos around the country.

On Sunday, the president announced in a tweet that he planned to officially designate the group as a terrorist organization.

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