Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw made the case during a House hearing on Thursday for why Antifa should be considered an organized left-wing extremist group that engages in what he called “ideological rioting.”
“I’ve heard many members of this body of this committee question whether Antifa even exists,” Crenshaw said in an exchange with FBI Director Christopher Wray during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.
“Earlier you confirmed Antifa does indeed exist, but you considered it more of an ideology than a group, correct?” Crenshaw, a Republican, asked Wray.
“Yes, an ideology or maybe a movement,” the FBI chief replied.
“That seems to me to be down-playing it,” Crenshaw asserted before launching into a 40-second monologue describing the alleged activities of Antifa supporters during protests across the U.S. in recent months. (RELATED: ‘I Am Antifa’: Antifa Supporter Could Be Portland’s Next Mayor)
“This is an ideology that organizes locally, it coordinates regionally and nationally, it wears a standardized uniform, it collects funds to buy high-powered lasers to blind federal officers, build homemade explosive devices, feed their rioters since they clearly aren’t working and then bail out those who have been arrested.”
“This is an ideology that has trained its members, makes shield wall phalanxes to attack federal officers. It formed an autonomous zone in an American city and besieged a federal courthouse in another, so it just seems to be more than an ideology.”
“Do you have a way to define what you mean by it’s not a group?” he asked Wray.
Wray said that he “by no means mean to minimize the seriousness of the violence and criminality that is going on across the country.”
Republicans and Democrats spent much of the hearing Thursday pressing Wray over whether Antifa, Black Lives Matter, QAnon or white supremacist groups pose the greatest domestic extremist threat.
Antifa supporters, often identified by wearing masks and black bloc attire, have been mainstays at social justice protests across the U.S. this year. Michael Reinoehl, a self-avowed Antifa supporter, allegedly murdered a Trump supporter in Portland last month.
Republicans have also accused Antifa supporters of being behind much of the rioting, looting and arson in Portland, Seattle and other U.S. cities.
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