Representative Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) said in a Thursday hearing that Antifa should be considered as more than a simple ideology or “movement.”
Crenshaw made his remarks after FBI director Christopher Wray told members of the House Homeland Security Committee that he would categorize Antifa as an ideology. Antifa supporters have participated in riots across the country in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
“Earlier you confirmed Antifa does indeed exist, but you considered it more of an ideology than a group, correct?” Crenshaw asked Ray. The FBI director responded “Yes, an ideology or maybe a movement.”
Crenshaw then said, “That seems to me to be down-playing it….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.”
Crenshaw was referring to the “autonomous zone” formed by George Floyd rioters in Seattle, Wash., in June, as well as ongoing demonstrations in Portland, Ore., in which rioters have attacked federal officers with explosives and caused vision damage among some officers by using lasers.
“I want to be clear that by describing it as an ideology or movement, I by no means, mean to minimize the seriousness of the violence and criminality that is going on across the country, some of which is attributable to people inspired by…that ideology,” Wray said.
When pressed by Crenshaw, Wray agreed that the actions of some suspects under investigation for violent rioting could meet the definition for domestic terrorism. However, Wray said that in Title 18 of the U.S. law code which deals with terrorism, there is “a legal predicament, which is that there is not currently…a domestic terrorism offense or crime as such.”
Some conservatives, including Attorney General William Barr, have called for charging rioters involved in violent acts over the summer with sedition. Riots have taken place in 140 cities since the death of Floyd, and have caused as much as $2 billion in property damages according to one report.