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Sat Jan 30, 2021, 04:49 PM

How Trump's Focus on Antifa Distracted Attention From the Far-Right Threat



By Adam Goldman, Katie Benner and Zolan Kanno-Youngs
Jan. 30, 2021


WASHINGTON — As racial justice protests erupted nationwide last year, President Donald J. Trump, struggling to find a winning campaign theme, hit on a message that he stressed over and over: The real domestic threat to the United States emanated from the radical left, even though law enforcement authorities had long since concluded it came from the far right.

It was a message that was quickly embraced and amplified by his attorney general and his top homeland security officials, who translated it into a shift in criminal justice and national security priorities even as Mr. Trump was beginning to openly stoke the outrage that months later would culminate in the storming of the Capitol by right-wing extremists.

Mr. Trump’s efforts to focus his administration on the antifa movement and leftist groups did not stop the Justice Department and the F.B.I. from pursuing cases of right-wing extremism. They broke up a kidnapping plot, for example, targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat.

But the effect of his direction was nonetheless substantial, according to interviews with current and former officials, diverting key portions of the federal law enforcement and domestic security agencies at a time when the threat from the far right was building ominously.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/30/us/politics/trump-right-wing-domestic-terrorism.html

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Reply How Trump's Focus on Antifa Distracted Attention From the Far-Right Threat (Original post)
SouthernCal_Dem Jan 2021 OP
sandensea Jan 2021 #1
hedda_foil Jan 2021 #2
dalton99a Jan 2021 #3
PSPS Jan 2021 #4
Voltaire2 Jan 2021 #5

Response to SouthernCal_Dem (Original post)

Sat Jan 30, 2021, 04:54 PM

1. As Intended

Straight from the neo-fascist playbook: make "national security threats" out of your adversaries - even when there's no reason to do so.

While encouraging your own paramilitaries - no matter how threatening to the national security.

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Response to SouthernCal_Dem (Original post)

Sat Jan 30, 2021, 05:24 PM

2. Figured it out already, did you, NYT? Goody goody for you.

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Response to SouthernCal_Dem (Original post)

Sat Jan 30, 2021, 05:30 PM

3. Kick


In late spring and early summer, as the racial justice demonstrations intensified, Justice Department officials began shifting federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents from investigations into violent white supremacists to focus on cases involving rioters or anarchists, including those who might be associated with the antifa movement. One Justice Department prosecutor was sufficiently concerned about an excessive focus on antifa that the official went to the department’s independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, telling his office that politics might have played a part.

Federal prosecutors and agents felt pressure to uncover a left-wing extremist criminal conspiracy that never materialized, according to two people who worked on Justice Department efforts to counter domestic terrorism. They were told to do so even though the F.B.I., in particular, had increasingly expressed concern about the threat from white supremacists, long the top domestic terrorism threat, and well-organized far-right extremist groups that had allied themselves with the president.

White House and Justice Department officials stifled internal efforts to publicly promote concerns about the far-right threat, with aides to Mr. Trump seeking to suppress the phrase “domestic terrorism” in internal discussions, according to a former official at the Department of Homeland Security.

Requests for funding to bolster the number of analysts who search social media posts for warnings of potential violent extremism were denied by top homeland security officials, limiting the department’s ability to spot developing threats like the post-Election Day anger among far-right groups over Mr. Trump’s loss.


Militias and other dangerous elements of the far right saw “an ally in the White House,” said Mary McCord, a former Justice Department official who teaches at Georgetown University and focuses on domestic terrorism. “That has, I think, allowed them to grow and recruit and try to mainstream their opinions, which is why I think you end up seeing what we saw” at the Capitol.

Mr. Trump’s focus on what he portrayed as a major threat from antifa was embraced in particular by Attorney General William P. Barr.

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Response to SouthernCal_Dem (Original post)

Sat Jan 30, 2021, 05:58 PM

4. "distracted?" He intentionally "diverted" attention from (his) right-wing threat. Media fell for it.

This is what happened when the media did everything it could to "normalize" the likes of trump.

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Response to SouthernCal_Dem (Original post)

Sat Jan 30, 2021, 06:34 PM

5. Yo! NYT: Trump is the far right threat.

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