Barr creates a working group focused on “anti-government extremists”

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBarr denies pattern of defending Trump’s interests, blames ‘media narrative’ that Pelosi throws cold water on accuser Clayton of Barr SEC refuses by firing Manhattan attorney to replace MORE On Friday, he ordered the Justice Department to form a task force dedicated to fighting “anti-government extremists,” according to a memorandum obtained by The Washington Post, increasing the government’s bid for national protests.

Barr argued in the memo that anti-government agitators had infiltrated peaceful protests against police brutality and systemic racism and “had participated in indefensible acts of violence designed to undermine public order.”

“Among other illegal conduct, these extremists have violently attacked police officers and other government officials, destroyed public and private property and threatened innocent people,” Barr wrote. Although these extremists profess a variety of ideologies, they are united in their opposition to the basic constitutional values ​​of a democratic society governed by law. … Some claim to profess a message of freedom and progress, but in reality they are forces of anarchy, destruction and coercion. ”

In the memo, Barr identified members of the right-wing “Boogaloo” movement and the anti-fascist movement known as antifa as the primary targets of the task force.

Craig Carpenito, the United States Attorney for New Jersey, and Erin Nealy Cox, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, will lead the task force, which will also include representatives from the FBI and other prosecutor offices.

The task force’s mission will be to develop information on “extremist individuals, networks and movements,” share data with local authorities, and provide training to local prosecutors on how to fight cases against anti-government extremists.

“The ultimate goal of the task force will be to not only allow the prosecution of extremists involved in the violence, but to understand these groups well enough that we can stop such violence before it occurs and ultimately eliminate it as a threat to public safety and the rule of law, ”wrote Barr.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill about the memo.

Barr said in an interview with NPR on Thursday that the Justice Department has launched “approximately 300 investigations” across the country, including some people associated with antifa.

Barr has tried to take a tough stance on anti-government groups since some early protests over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis turned violent.

“There are some groups that do not have a particular ideology, apart from anarchy. There are some groups that want to provoke a civil war: the Boogaloo group has also been on the sidelines of this, “he said earlier this month, adding that the Justice Department will find” constructive solutions. “