Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy said Monday that anti-fascist activists should be considered as "a terrorist organization," as President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE has blamed antifa for instigating some of the protests convulsing the country.
As protests over the death of George Floyd hit the country over the weekend, Trump said on Sunday that the "United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Trump's tweet has raised legal questions how the U.S. would do that, since only foreign groups can be formally designed as "terrorists" under the law. Antifa is also not a formal group but a term used generally for people who loosely share an anti-authoritarian ideology, and beliefs are protected under the First Amendment.
McCarthy, a Fox News contributor and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said a formal designation did not really matter, calling antifa effectively a "terrorist" group.
“We don’t need a designation when a group is operating domestically because we have an array of laws to deal with terrorists,” McCarthy told “America’s Newsroom.”
“You can designate them cumquats if you want. The important thing is how you treat them. They are a terrorist organization, they should be treated like a terrorist organization,” he added.
McCarthy also called for tougher prosecution of antifa groups.
"On the law enforcement track, you have to prosecute them," McCarthy later argued. "There is a statute that deals with that. For an interstate group like antifa, you can use the racketeering laws. As the attorney general said, there are laws against rioting. ... There are a lot of laws we can use."
McCarthy also said deploying armed forces may also be needed but only if it's left as "the only possible alternative" to law enforcement.
"That has to be done, including deploying the armed forces to the extent that that's necessary in places where you have such unrest that that's the only possible alternative," McCarthy said. "Law enforcement can't accomplish that."
Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China Barr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event MORE said Sunday that antifa could be charged on the federal level, calling the group "violent radical agitators."
“Federal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law,” Barr said in a statement Sunday.
Curfews are being set in many U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., which announced a 7:00 p.m. curfew on Monday.
The protests come after the death of George Floyd late last month after a policeman kneeled on his neck during an arrest in Minneapolis.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and then charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter last week.