Trump Administration Promise to Focus on Extremism Remains Unfulfilled

In the meantime, the F.B.I. has opened over 300 domestic terrorism investigations since May 28, when demonstrations erupted around the country in response to the killing of George Floyd.

“As our citizens have organized lawful demonstrations across this country following the tragic events in Minneapolis, anarchists have continued to exploit this lawful First Amendment activity as a shield for their violent behavior,” Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Texas, testified in August at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on preventing violent protests.

Ms. Cox was appointed by Mr. Barr to lead a Justice Department task force on violent anti-government extremists, including those that identify with Antifa or the far-right “boogaloo” movement, whose goal is to incite a race war in the United States.

“Somehow, the notion of committing violence in the name of an anti-government dogma — be it Antifa, boogaloo or any of the other espoused ideologies — has been gaining traction at an alarming rate,” Ms. Cox said.

The delay of the release of the Department of Homeland Security’s plan is consistent with the Trump administration’s underplaying of violence perpetuated by right-wing extremist groups, which have proliferated in the past three and a half years. Under Mr. Trump, the department’s office tasked with paying out grants and coordinating with local police departments to prevent domestic threats has shriveled in size and has been renamed numerous times.

The strategy framework released by the department last September identified numerous rising threats, including white supremacist groups and anti-government extremists, like the boogaloo movement. The Air Force sergeant charged with killing a federal security officer outside a courthouse in Oakland, Calif., expressed allegiance to the movement and said he used the protests against racial injustice as a cover to attack law enforcement.

“The administration coming out and naming one group terrorists and not saying anything about white nationalism? It’s ridiculous,” said Mr. Johnson, whose 2009 report warned that economic dislocation and the recent election of a Black president could fuel right-wing extremism. “It comes at a cost to the people who live in these communities who are affected by the violence.”

Katie Benner contributed reporting.

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