Justice Department has 500 investigations into protesters and destruction of statues

Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had brought “dozens of indictments” against people who committed violence during a wave of protests across the country.

During the Thursday episode of Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s podcast, Verdict, which is co-organized by conservative commentator Michael Knowles, Barr said his agency was using 35 joint terrorist forces across the country to investigate criminal activity, which has taken place since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man. , on Memorial Day. man.

“When the real violence started around May 25-26, and so on, we started using our joint terrorist forces across the country. And there are 35 of them across the country,” Barr said.

“And now they are starting to do their best, putting together investigations, accusations against the people who are involved in this violence. So we’ve already had dozens of accusations about fires, destruction of federal property, things like that.” And we have, at the moment, around 500 ongoing investigations, “he added.

Barr told Cruz and Knowles that the “provocateurs and agitators” groups appeared to be well coordinated and often used anarchist groups to carry out violent criminal activities.

“They want to tear down the country. They are different from many traditional groups and the signs of coordination and activity are often very close to the event itself,” the attorney general said. “So, like the morning of the day before, and things are moving very fast. But we definitely see signs on the street of communication, organization, preplanning, preposition of things. So it is definitely an activity organized. “

Barr, Cruz and Knowles speculated that the protesters did not understand the background of historical figures whose monuments they would like to tear down. “Old man with a beard, it has to be bad,” Cruz said.

“They are after San Junípero Serra!” Knowles joked earlier. “And Cervantes!” Cruz added.

Barr said in late May that “extreme left wing and extremist groups” and anarchists appeared to be responsible for the increasing violence and unrest that occurred simultaneously with the protests following Floyd’s death. Barr declared that the violence “instigated and carried out” by “antifa and other similar groups” in connection with protests across the country is “domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”

This month, Barr referred to a “witch training” by extremist groups involved in the protests. Recently arrested people include suspected members of the extreme right-wing “boogaloo” movement.

Since then, activists have claimed that Confederate statues, which pay tribute to Confederate leaders like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, must be brought down. However, protesters have also attempted to tear down or request local governments to dismantle statues of historical figures such as former Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant.

During a press conference Wednesday with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Rose Garden, President Trump said he would not tolerate the destruction of statues representing Jesus Christ, the Founding Fathers, and others while in office.

“I think a lot of the people who are tearing down these statues don’t even have a clue what the statue is, what it means, who it is,” Trump said. “Now they are looking at Jesus Christ. They are looking at George Washington. They are looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. It is not going to happen. It is not going to happen. Not while I am here.”

On Tuesday, Trump said he authorized the government to arrest those who smashed or destroyed statues and that the culprits would face up to 10 years in prison.

“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who destroys or destroys any federal monument, statue or other property in the United States with up to 10 years in prison, under the Veterans Monument Preservation Act or other applicable laws. “Trump said in a Twitter thread.

“This action is effective immediately, but it can also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused,” he added. “There will be no exceptions!”