President Trump said in a new interview that the anti-fascist group Antifa, not law enforcement, should be investigated over the recent clashes in cities like Portland, Oregon.
“I think Antifa should be investigated — not the law enforcement,” Mr. Trump said on “Axios on HBO,” which aired Monday evening. “It’s Antifa and anarchists that are causing the problems — not law enforcement.”
“Take a look at what they’ve done to the courthouse. Take a look at what they’ve done to the streets,” the president said.
The interview was taped before the Department of Homeland Security and the city announced a tentative deal where federal agents would gradually leave the city if local forces keep the peace near a federal courthouse after more than two months of protests.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating the federal response in Portland and whether law enforcement officers used excessive force.
Members of the public have raised concerns about reports that at least one person was swept up in an unmarked vehicle without being told why they were being detained.
Mr. Trump said federal officials are “unmarked” because of “these terrorists, these Antifa people.”
“When they see the name on a uniform of person…they find out where that person lives and then they go and they scare the hell out of the person’s family,” he said.
Homeland Security officials have said that while agents’ names aren’t on their uniforms, their outfits are clearly identifiable.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is chairing a hearing Tuesday afternoon on Antifa and anarchist violence that is supposed to feature testimony from acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, among others.
The Senate’s chief oversight committee is also scheduled to hold a hearing on Thursday with acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who Mr. Trump praised in the interview.