‘These are not unconnected lawless incidents; they instead appear to be a pattern of racketeering activity…’
During a hearing on Tuesday, Cruz told FBI Director Christopher Wray that he would submit a formal letter asking the Department of Justice to carry out a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) investigation, which targets organized criminal activity in the U.S.
Because of Antifa’s long history of violent behavior toward journalists and random citizens, the group fits under the definition RICO requires, Cruz said.
“The bureau has significant tools to go after organizations, criminal enterprises that engage, that use anonymity, that use masks to carry out violence, groups like the Klan, groups like at times the Mafia,” Cruz said, noting that Antifa has coordinated its protests and violent behavior.
Wray responded and said the FBI views Antifa as more of an ideology than an organization. But he clarified that the bureau does take violence seriously and has already launched smaller inquiries into Antifa’s actions.
“We have a quite a number though, I should tell you, of properly predicated investigations of what we categorize as anarchist extremists. People who are trying to commit violent criminal activity that violates federal criminal law and some of those people do subscribe as what we would refer to as a kinda of a antifa-like ideology,” Wray said.
Wray did say he would read and consider Cruz’s letter.
“Antifa’s violence is widespread and well-known,” the letter states, citing Antifa’s attacks on Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, conservative journalist Andy Ngo, as well as several other incidents.
Today I penned a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and FBI Director Christopher Wray calling for an investigation into Antifa under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). pic.twitter.com/ptY0syxPrn
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 23, 2019
“These are not unconnected lawless incidents; they instead appear to be a pattern of racketeering activity,” the letter continues.