Attorney General William BarrBill BarrVirginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE asked Justice Department prosecutors to explore charging Seattle Mayor Jenny DurkanJenny DurkanWashington governor orders vaccines for state employees, health care workers Angst grips America's most liberal city An exhausting year takes toll on nation's mayors MORE (D) over a protest zone in the city, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Barr asked prosecutors in the department's civil rights division to explore charging Durkan during a call with prosecutors last week, the Times reported, citing two people briefed on those discussions.
Barr asked the attorneys to explore charging the Democratic mayor over allowing some residents to establish a police-free protest zone near the city’s downtown for weeks this summer amid demonstrations over police brutality and racial injustice, the Times reported.
During the call, Barr also reportedly encouraged federal prosecutors to charge protesters with sedition, according to the Times. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Barr’s remarks about sedition Wednesday.
Justice Department representatives did not respond to requests for comment from the Times. The Hill also reached out to the Justice Department for comment.
Law enforcement officials told the Times that Barr’s question about whether Durkan violated any federal statutes by allowing the protest zone was highly unusual.
Trump has criticized Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeSeattle area to require COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor venues Washington state troopers, firefighters sue over vaccine mandate Washington state enacting mask mandate for large outdoor events MORE (D) over the protest zone.
“Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW,” Trump tweeted in June. “If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
Nationwide protests emerged at the end of May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. In several cities the protests have occurred daily, and subsequent cases of police killings and police brutality have reignited demonstrations.