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Vanity Fair - Septemeber 1, 2020

After months of Donald Trump recycling Fox News lines equating those protesting racial injustice to domestic terrorists, the president’s acting Department of Homeland Security secretary appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Monday to tease what sounds like the department’s potential mass-arrest plan. Carlson pressed DHS chief Chad Wolf on why “the leaders of antifa and BLM” have not yet been rounded up, suggesting that they should be “arrested and charged with conspiracy under, say, RICO like the heads of Mafia families were.”

“Well, this is something that I have talked to [Attorney General William Barr] personally about. I know that they are working on it,” said Wolf, adding that officials have made “about 300 arrests across this country regarding civil unrest,” including about 75 who have been charged in Portland alone. (Several of those arrests occurred when federal officers barreled protesters into unmarked vans.) “The Department of Justice is also targeting and investigating the head of these organizations, the individuals that are paying for these individuals to move across the country,” he said.

It’s unclear exactly who the DOJ views as the leaders of nebulous political movements like antifa and Black Lives Matter, as the past few months of nationwide protests sparked by police shootings of Black Americans are largely grassroots, often spontaneous demonstrations organized at local levels. But Wolf described BLM as a hierarchical movement and suggested that the group uses a methodical and far-reaching process of organizing. “We know [protesters] are moving around,” he said. ...
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