Democrats in their efforts against domestic terrorism have focused on right-wing groups and have not acknowledged violence from groups with a different ideology such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter, according to Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.).
“The way the Democrats define domestic terrorism is white nationalism, far right extremism. It’s not Antifa, it’s not Black Lives Matter,” Steube, who represents Florida’s 17th congressional district, told “American Thought Leaders” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday.
Earlier this week, at a House hearing on domestic terrorism in America, Steube played a video showing organized rioting, arson, looting, and deadly violence across the United States in 2020.
“I put every one of the Democratic witnesses—after I showed a video of all the atrocious things that happened in this country over the summer, and all the violence that happened over the summer—[I] asked each one of them and read them the definition of what domestic terrorism is, and not a single one of them would agree that what Antifa and Black Lives Matter did to our country and the cities all over was domestic terrorism,” he said, adding that the Democrat witnesses either refused to answer the question, or called it “civil disobedience.”
A man holds a Black Lives Matter sign as a police car burns in front of him during a protest outside CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 29, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
The term “domestic terrorism” is defined under the USA Patriot Act of 2001 as referring to activities that involve “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State [and] appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
“If you read that [definition], what Antifa, Black Lives Matter [did], what happened in Minneapolis after the George Floyd shooting, all of that would be considered domestic terrorism,” Steube said. “So to say that that’s not and that’s peacefully protesting, and then [to say that] what happened Jan. 6 is domestic terrorism is not appropriate. It’s not an appropriate application in the law.”
Rioters light a fire at the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland, Ore., on July 27, 2020. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)
Steube said he has called out the violence by Antifa and Black Lives Matter in the same way he had condemned the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. He said of Democrats’ stance, “If we’re starting to focus on one side of the political ideology, and not the other, I think [it] is very, very dangerous for the future of our country.”
“If you violated law, by illegally entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, and caused destruction of property, illegally entering a federal building, you should be held legally accountable for that, just like the protesters, and Portland and Seattle and Antifa and Black Lives Matter and what happened in Minneapolis, where they destroyed federal property, they should be held accountable too,” Steube said. “But the Democrats don’t want to go after the far left, progressive, violent actors, they only want to go after conservative violent actors.”
Journalist Andy Ngo, an expert on the anarcho-communist group, previously told The Epoch Times that Antifa is “more than an idea.” He said that Antifa is “also a movement” that has networks of organizations, and some of them are organized into formal groups.
‘Weaponizing’ the Law to Target Political Ideology
Steube alleged that the USA Patriot Act has been used to pursue without a warrant people who were in Washington on Jan. 6.
“That’s why they’re defining it domestic terrorism. If they define it as domestic terrorism, then they can use the Patriot Act and investigate and surveil American citizens without a warrant,” he said.
While there were those who committed violence on Capitol grounds, many others who were in Washington on Jan. 6 were engaged in peaceful protest and did not commit any violence.
“You’re weaponizing the Department of Justice for political reasons, just like what we saw happen in Russia collusion, just like what we saw happen to the Trump campaign before Trump got elected,” Steube alleged.
He added: “You saw reporting where Bank of America was giving information of people who are using ATMs in Washington on Jan. 6. I know, in fact, that they’ve been going through cellphone records of those people that were that were there on Jan. 6. You normally wouldn’t be able to do that without a warrant under our Fourth Amendment rights under our Constitution, but they’re using the Patriot Act to go after domestic terrorism—in their ideological lens—which I think is very, very dangerous for the future of our country.”