EXCLUSIVE: A number of House Republicans are urging FBI to investigate who has been funding the recent riots across the country, and bring federal charges against those who they say are “aiding and abetting” criminal activity.
“The Department of Justice and FBI’s leadership is needed to bring to justice those who have funded these criminal organizations and to give justice to the communities who have been devastated by these individuals and organizations,” the letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, signed by Rep. Andy Biggs., R-Ariz., along with nearly two dozen other Republicans, says.
Riots tore through a number of cities across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in May. Against the backdrop of peaceful protests, the riots caused significant damage and injury in cities like New York City, Chicago and Portland.
Republicans have zeroed in on the left-wing organizations behind the violence, such as Antifa. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held a hearing last month into Antifa’s role in the riots, while in the House, Biggs has taken a number of measures to probe who is funding the violence.
“Many cities across our country have been rocked by rioters associated with Antifa and other organizations,” the letter says. “These individuals seem to be using cowardly efforts to commandeer otherwise peaceful protests. These actions constitute domestic terrorism and federal charges must be brought against those who are aiding and abetting the criminal actions of these organizations.”
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who signed the letter, also sent a letter to the Department of Justice last week, asking them to look into the source of funding for recent riots and Antifa-related activities.
Other representatives who signed the letter, which urges the FBI to act “expeditiously,” include Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. It notes that Attorney General William Barr has said that Antifa and other extremist groups “have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity.”
The letter comes days after an estimate that the summer riots will be the costliest in insurance history – between $1 billion and $2 billion.
President Trump had targeted the cities, asking for a review of federal funding to “anarchist” jurisdictions. The DOJ memo serves as notice that New York City, Portland and Seattle meet the criteria Trump set out for potential defunding.
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.
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