Chad Wolf, the acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said he has spoken with the attorney general about prosecuting members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Mr. Wolf said Monday on Fox News that he talked to Attorney General William P. Barr about the Department of Justice possibly charging individuals associated with either movement.
The interim DHS chief since November, Mr. Wolf disclosed the discussions when asked about bringing charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, Act.
“Why haven’t we seen the leaders of Antifa and BLM arrested and charged with conspiracy under, say, RICO, like the heads of Mafia families were?” asked Fox host Tucker Carlson.
“Well, this is something that I have talked to the AG personally about, and I know that they are working on it,” replied Mr. Wolf, referring to the attorney general.
Antifa – short for anti-fascist – and BLM activists have recently been involved in the nationwide unrest and protests taking place against racial injustice and police brutality.
Those protests have descended into riots in some instances, resulting in arson, looting and other criminal acts that have led President Trump to recommend federal intervention.
Antifa and BLM are decentralized movements that lack formal leadership, however, effectively making it impossible for authorities to take down the purported leadership of either.
But speaking on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Mr. Wolf suggested the Justice Department is scrutinizing people it suspects of bankrolling Antifa and BLM’s alleged criminal activities.
The Justice Department is “targeting and investigating the head of these organizations, the individuals that are paying for these individuals to move across the country,” he said.
“We know they are moving around,” Mr. Wolf added. “They are organized. We have seen similar tactics being used from Portland and other cities across the country as well.”
Mr. Wolf, who Mr. Trump nominated last month to serve as DHS secretary pending Senate confirmation, added that he talks to Mr. Barr about the probe on roughly a weekly basis.
“The Department of Homeland Security, we’re doing our role,” said Mr. Wolf. “We’re making sure that the investigations that were involved in we’re getting that information over to the Department of Justice to the FBI, to those criminal investigators that are doing their job.”
The Justice Department did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
Antifa and BLM activists have participated in nationwide demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality held following the May 25 death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, as well as the more recent shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who shot from behind Sunday by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and paralyzed.
Nationwide, Mr. Wolf said around 300 arrests have been made in connection with that unrest, with roughly one-third taking place in Portland, Oregon.