- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Justice Department will be bringing federal charges against those it’s able to identify as taking part in an attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson on federal property near the White House, Attorney General William P. Barr said in an interview posted Thursday.

He said federal agents are reviewing video of the incident from earlier this week to build cases.

“We will go after people,” he said on Verdict, which is Sen. Ted Cruz’s podcast.

“So if you attack a monument on federal property, you’re going to get prosecuted?” said Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican.

“That’s right,” Mr. Barr responded.

The Jackson statue stands in Lafayette Square, which has been the focus of anti-Trump rallies in recent weeks, sparked by the renewed national conversation on race and police enforcement.

While anger was initially aimed at statues of those associated with the Confederacy, rioters have more recently expanded their iconoclastic demands to include the likes of Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses S. Grant, the general who triumphed over the Confederacy then led Reconstruction.

Mr. Barr said he sees ignorance at work in those attacks.

“It’s anarchy, is what it is,” the attorney general said. “And from people who are very ignorant, don’t care about history at all. I imagine they looked at U.S. Grant’s statue, didn’t know who he was, didn’t know what side he was on.”

“He was a great Republican president who did more for advancing the right of African Americans in this country than probably any single president,” Mr. Barr added.

When it comes to the broader demonstrations nationwide, some of which have erupted into violence, he said the role of protecting people and property lies foremost with local officials. The federal government’s role comes later, he said, in bringing charges against those who break federal law.

He said there are 500 active Joint Terrorism Task Force investigations into agitators behind some of the more violent protests.

Earlier this week, President Trump warned protesters that the could face a decade in prison for targeting the Jackson statute, invoking a 2003 law that establishes severe penalties for targeting veterans’ memorials across the country.

Mr. Barr, in the podcast, also said he expects to deliver a decision this summer on pursuing antitrust action against big tech giants — and he telegraphed his stance, saying the likes of Google are “censoring” Americans’ political debate.

Mr. Barr said tech companies engaged in a “bait-and-switch” in promising to be good stewards of the massive online public forum they control, only to end up picking sides.

“When they got that market power, now they’re censoring views,” he said. “We’re getting increasingly monolithic viewpoints being presented to the American people rather than robust debate.”

He said the Justice Department has been pondering antitrust action, and he will be “making decisions in next few weeks about that.”

Mr. Barr’s comments come as the Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the possibility of bringing an antitrust case against Google.

A lawsuit alleging that Google is using its dominant position in the marketplace to stifle competition has been expected for some time. Another potential aspect of the suit could be Google’s advertising business, which gives the company control over every link in the digital media supply chain.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the antitrust probe.

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