Update: This article has been updated to include comments from signatories Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
Ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan (R-OH) and other members sent a letter—obtained by Townhall—to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday demanding that action be taken to investigate Antifa’s attack on journalist and author Andy Ngo. As Townhall reported, Ngo was attacked late last month while in Portland, Oregon. Days later, Ngo confirmed in a Twitter thread that he was indeed the victim of that attack.
“Leftwing political violence by radical groups like Antifa has gone on long enough. These coordinated attacks on law-abiding Americans, especially journalists like Andy Ngo, are despicable. Why is the Biden Administration allowing carnage on our streets and attacks on the First Amendment? We need immediate answers,” said Rep. Bishop in a statement to Townhall.
??#BREAKING: @RepDanBishop, @Jim_Jordan, @RepAndyBiggsAZ, @RepMikeJohnson, and @RepBentz demand information from AG Garland on how DOJ is using federal civil rights law to protect @MrAndyNgo and other journalists from Antifa’s orchestrated campaign of violence and intimidation. pic.twitter.com/v7elJBgrvB
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) June 8, 2021
“The Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing federal law and protecting federal property by prosecuting criminal acts of violence. The Biden Administration has demonstrated an unwillingness to intervene in the ongoing left-wing political violence in Portland, Oregon, which only elicits further attacks and intimidation tactics from domestic terrorist groups like Antifa. Attorney General Garland must be held accountable for the investigations into these acts of violence and describe how the DOJ will prevent future civil liberty abuse,” said Rep. Biggs in a statement to Townhall.
The letter makes the following requests of the attorney general:
1. Please explain the Justice Department’s current efforts to identify and prosecute individuals involved in the assaults of Mr. Ngo and other journalists in violation of federal statutes securing their civil rights.
2. Please explain how the Justice Department, in coordination with other relevant federal and state law enforcement agencies, is working to prevent individuals from engaging in violence and intimidation designed to impair the free exercise and enjoyment of rights and privileges that Mr. Ngo and other journalists possess under the Constitution and laws of the United States.
As the letter outlines, Ngo provided testimony for the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security’s hearing on “The Rise of Domestic Terrorism in America,” on February 24, 2021. Ngo spoke of Antifa, specifically in Portland, and how their actions “resulted in a murder, hundreds of arson attacks, mass injuries, and mass property destruction.” Ngo also mentioned the dangers of “downplaying Antifa’s violent extremism.”
In his tweets, Ngo called on “Portland Police and federal authorities to act on this before Antifa operatives hiding behind their masks succeed in murdering an American journalist on their watch.”
Last month’s attack is not the only concern addressed in the letter. The letter underscores how Ranking Member Jordan wrote multiple times to Attorney General Garland, including a letter dated March 29, 2021, which went “ignored.” Garland “again failed to respond” to a letter from April 27, 2021.
Jordan’s letters charge that “The Biden Administration’s tacit acceptance of left-wing political violence in Portland and the accompanying attacks on journalists is unacceptable and dangerous. Your acceptance of left-wing political violence in Portland will only incentivize further violence and attacks.”
Then-Attorney General William Barr told Townhall in an exclusive interview last September that “I think Antifa and Antifa-like groups are at the center of” last year’s riots. A DOJ statement from Barr released on May 31, 2020, read in part:
To identify criminal organizers and instigators, and to coordinate federal resources with our state and local partners, federal law enforcement is using our existing network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF).
The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
In 2020, then-President Donald Trump declared his intention for Antifa to be labeled as a domestic terrorist organization. During his last month in office, he issued an executive order for the DOJ to classify Antifa as such and for the State Department to restrict visas to foreigners affiliated with Antifa.
However, since taking office, the Biden administration has failed to condemn violence on the West Coast showcased in footage from Townhall.
Democrats, meanwhile, have not even acknowledged the existence of Antifa. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, referred to the group as “a myth that’s being spread only in Washington, D.C.” and “imaginary.”
In September, then-candidate Biden, when asked if he condemned Antifa, did so in general terms, saying, “Yes I do—violence no matter who it is,” which says nothing about whether or not he acknowledged Antifa’s existence. During the first presidential debate in late September, Biden claimed “Antifa is an idea, not an organization, that’s what his FBI director said.”
However, the FBI director Biden was referring to, Christopher Wray, said his agency was investigating Antifa and that “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement, or an ideology may be one way of thinking of it and we have quite a number, and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee, we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa.”
The Judiciary Committee also discussed Antifa last summer. Ranking member Jordan showed footage of violence carried out by Antifa, which included videos from Townhall. Although he is supposed to have unlimited time for his opening statements—during which he played the videos of Antifa violence—the video was cut short after seven minutes. The full video can be viewed here.
Jordan’s letter to AG Garland was also signed by Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mike Johnson (R-LA), and Cliff Bentz (R-OR).