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Sen. Cruz: Antifa’s Public Displays of Violence Strike Similar Tactics and Terror as the KKK

Urges FBI Director Wray to open RICO investigation into Antifa

July 23, 2019

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, today participated in a full committee hearing focused on oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). There, Sen. Cruz urged FBI Director Christopher Wray to open an investigation into Antifa under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

"Let me turn to a final topic which is an area of concern for me, which is the group that has called itself Antifa," Sen. Cruz said. "Which ironically is short for anti-fascism, and yet they engage in the conduct of fascists. They engage in violent protests. Masked men and women engaging in physical violence. [...] Although the bureau has significant tools to go after organizations, criminal enterprises that engage, that use anonymity, that use masks to carry out violence. Groups like the Klan, groups like at times the Mafia. And I will today be sending a letter to you and the Department of Justice asking the Department to open a RICO investigation into Antifa, because I believe they are engaged in a similarly coordinated effort. That letter will likewise focus on some local elected officials who have chosen to deny police protection to their citizens based on political ideology. That is a pattern, sadly, that we saw, we have seen with politicians who favored Klan violence, and I think every citizen deserves law enforcement protection regardless of their political ideology."

Watch Sen. Cruz's full line of questioning here. Excerpts of Sen. Cruz's remarks are below:

Sen. Cruz: "So I agree with you and I look forward to our continuing to work with you to both protect our universities but also to ensure against espionage of intellectual property. Let me turn to a final topic which is an area of concern for me, which is the group that has called itself Antifa. Which ironically is short for anti-fascism, and yet they engage in the conduct of fascists. They engage in violent protests. Masked men and women engaging in physical violence. We saw recently the Rose City chapter of Antifa in Portland, Oregon that as assaulting citizens, was disrupting traffic, violently assaulted one journalist so severely that he was hospitalized for brain hemorrhage. Likewise, this weekend, a Mr. Willem Van Spronsen, another Antifa terrorist, attacked a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Center in Tacoma, Washington igniting a vehicle and attempting to ignite a propane tank. I am concerned that these are not isolated instances but rather this is a pattern, an organization that is engaged in masked, anonymous, violent terrorism. To what extent is the F.B.I. concerned about the threat of violent activity from a violent organization like Antifa?"

Director Wray: "So, we are absolutely concerned about violence committed on behalf of any ideology, any extremism, and the key there though is the point that I think I made in response to a couple of different questions already, which is again, the FBI doesn't investigate ideology, we investigate violent criminal activity and if it's fueled by some ideology then that's how it gets wrapped into our mandate. And so, for us, Antifa, we view as more of an ideology than an organization. We have quite a number though, I should tell you, of properly predicated investigations of what we categorize as ‘anarchist extremists,' people who are trying to commit violent, criminal activity that violates federal law, and some of those people do subscribe to what we would describe as to what we would refer to as kind of an Antifa-like ideology. We don't think of Antifa so much as an organization as such, but I think we are saying sort of the same thing."

Sen. Cruz: "Although the bureau has significant tools to go after organizations, criminal enterprises that engage, that use anonymity, that use masks to carry out violence. Groups like the Klan, groups like at times the Mafia. And I will today be sending a letter to you and the Department of Justice asking the Department to open a RICO investigation into Antifa, because I believe they are engaged in a similarly coordinated effort. That letter will likewise focus on some local elected officials who have chosen to deny police protection to their citizens based on political ideology. That is a pattern, sadly, that we saw, we have seen with politicians who favored Klan violence, and I think every citizen deserves law enforcement protection regardless of their political ideology."

Director Wray: "I look forward to reviewing your letter."

Sen. Cruz: "Thank you."

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