Bill Barr Takes Charge of Trump's Crackdown as the Military Tries to Back Away - 2020-06-03
As President Trump continues to try and drum up support for his call for states to "dominate" protesters and beef up police presence against them , Attorney General Bill Barr and a team of senior Justice Department officials have quietly taken the lead on disrupting the protests and going after the petty criminals who may be using the demonstrations as cover.
It's been a controversial move, even within Barr's own department. One federal prosecutor called Barr's most high-profile effort to quell the unrest "politically-charged [and] bogus." A senior law enforcement official called it "a political ploy to make being anti-Trump look like terrorism."
In the early hours following clashes between protesters and police in Minneapolis on May 26, Barr and senior officials at DOJ began holding meetings and calls, strategizing ways to clamp down, two senior officials in the department told The Daily Beast. Scenes of looters ransacking local shops and vandalizing police buildings unnerved Barr, those officials said, and the attorney general directed his team to find a framework to identify and arrest those individuals and charge them with federal crimes. The idea was to try and take control of the administration's response to the protests by relying on the FBI's regional counterterrorism hubs to share information with local law enforcement about, in Barr's own words, "extremists."