FBI has found no evidence that indicates that Antifa was involved in the May 31 violence in Washington D.C. Antifa, or Antifascist, is a far-left wing organization that President Donald Trump has blamed for the violence during George Floyd protests. According to the report, the FBI's Washington Field Office "has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence" in the DC violence on May 31. The same day, Trump had announced that his administration will designate it as a terrorist group.
Widespread protests have rocked the U.S. since the gruesome killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, by four white police officers in Minneapolis. At several places, the demonstrations turned violent, with acts of arson, vandalism and ransacking reported. In several cases, the law enforcement officers resorted to heavy-handedness.
Violence was reported in the capital since Friday night, with projectiles thrown at officers and protesters engaging in direct physical confrontation with them. As per the internal FBI report accessed by The Nation, the list of violent acts included throwing bricks at the police and recovery of an explosives-laden backpack.
According to the report, FBI's Washington Office, based on "CHS [Confidential Human Source] canvassing, open-source/social media partner engagement and liaison", found no evidence indicating Antifa's involvement in the violence. The report, titled 'Civil Unrest in Washington AOR [Area of Responsibility] Following Death of George Floyd' and marked 'For official use only' (FOU), was provided to The Nation by an FBI agent on condition of anonymity.
It, however, warned that members from a far-right social media group had "called for far-right provocateurs to attack federal agents" and "use automatic weapons against protesters". The name of the group hasn't been disclosed.
Also, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in its May 29 report said that two days after Floyd's killing, "a white supremacist extremist Telegram channel incited followers to engage in violence and start the 'boogaloo', Politico reported. 'Boogaloo' is a term used by some violent extremists to refer to the start of a second Civil War, by shooting at the crowd. One such Telegram message called for supporters to frame the crowd around them for violence.
Earlier this week, Twitter suspended a fake Antifa handle, '@ANTIFA_US' that was actually run by a white nationalist group Identity Evropa. In its last tweet before the account was suspended, the group called for violence.
Donald Trump Hits Out at Antifa
The right-wing president has blamed the far-left organization for the violence during George Floyd protests. On Sunday, he announced that his administration will designate ANTIFA, "a Terrorist Organization". Right after that, the U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a statement in which he said the violence instigated and executed by Antifa and other similar groups is an "act of domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly".
Trump's commentary on Antifa has been echoed by several Republican lawmakers. Matt Gaetz, a Republican lawmaker from Florida, called for the group to be treated the same way as terrorists are hunted down in the middle-east. His tweet was flagged by Twitter as it violated its rules about glorifying violence.
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton tweeted, "let's see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they're facing off with the 101st Airborne Division". He called for "zero tolerance for this destruction".