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Legal Experts Throw Cold Water on Trump Tweet Which Said ‘Antifa’ Will Be Designated as Terrorist Organization


Getty Images from August 11, 2018: “Members of ANTIFA get in formation after entering the security checkpoint required to enter the mall in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, one-year after the violent white nationalist rally that left one person dead and dozens injured.”

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that “antifa” will be designated as a terrorist organization. The problem, however, is the lack of legal authority in getting that done.

From Professor Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas School of Law:

The USA lacks the lawful authority to name any domestic groups as “terrorist organizations,” he said.

“Waste no brain cells on this. Antifa is a vaguely defined movement of people who like direct-action protest tactics, not an actual organization,” wrote Charlie Savage, a legal reporter for The New York Times who has long written about presidential power. He had the same take as Vladeck. “Even if it were a real group, the law that lets the government deem entities as terrorists only applies to foreign orgs.”

So-called antifa (short for “anti-fascist”) protesters have been controversial during the Trump administration, being seen clashing with far-right groups like the Proud Boys. Well, Trump is implicitly blaming them, at least in part, for the wake of fraught, often violent protests nationwide this weekend.

There were incidents of violence by police, and looting by citizens. Demonstrators took to the streets over the death of Minnesota man George Floyd. Then-police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for minutes while bystanders pleaded for the law enforcement official to stop. Authorities dragged Floyd’s limp body onto a gurney, and he was declared dead later that Monday. Now Chauvin has been fired due to video of the incident, and he’s being charged with third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The incident fueled the ongoing national debate over how law enforcement treats people of color, especially black men and women. Hence, the events of this weekend.

[Image via LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images]

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