President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he is going to be designating Antifa as a terrorist organization. Antifa, which is short for "anti-fascists," is a loosely-affiliated group that has been responsible for acts of violence in the United States over the past few years.
While speaking at the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday (May 30), President Trump accused the group of inciting violence during the George Floyd protests.
"The violence and vandalism is being led by Antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses, and burning down buildings," Trump said.
Attorney General William Barr called the riots, which have turned sections of some cities into warzones, acts of "domestic terrorism." While Barr did not name any specific groups, he said the "legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements."
"With the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda," Barr said.
President Trump may have a difficult time officially classifying Antifa as a terrorist organization because there are no laws regarding domestic terrorism. Currently, the State Department has the power to classify only foreign organizations as terror groups.
Another issue with labeling a domestic organization is the First Amendment. While foreign groups do not enjoy the protections of free speech and free association, it would be almost impossible to charge U.S. citizens solely for being members of Antifa.
"There currently exists no legal authority to designate domestic organizations as terror organizations, and any such designation would raise serious First Amendment concerns," Mary McCord, who heads Georgetown University's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, told Politico.
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