Attorney General Bill Barr in the Oval Office on May, 28. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Without citing evidence, Attorney General Bill Barr denounced what he described as "planned" violence from "far-left extremist groups" on Saturday, in response to many U.S. cities erupting in protest through Friday evening over the killing of George Floyd.
Driving the news: President Trump quickly echoed Barr's statement on Twitter, saying that "'Crossing State lines to incite violence is a FEDERAL CRIME! Liberal Governors and Mayors need to get tougher on protestors or the federal government will use "the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests."
- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Saturday that the state believes 80% of protestors came from out of state.
- Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minnesota, walked back his original statement on Saturday that everyone arrested during protests in the city was "from out of state," according to multiple reports, saying that the arrest data he was shown was inaccurate.
Reality check: Neither the president nor Barr provided information about why they believe protesters are crossing state lines to incite violence. Mass protests broke out Friday night in multiple U.S. cities across multiple states, with some escalating into violence and property destruction.
- Barr's denouncement against allegedly organized demonstrations followed Trump's earlier claim on Saturday that protestors outside of the White House were "professionally organized."
What they're saying: Barr said that "outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda" and that "in many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic and left extremist groups, far-left extremist groups, using antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from outside the state to promote the violence."
- "It is a federal crime to cross state lines or to use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting, and we will enforce those laws," Barr said.
- "80% of the RIOTERS in Minneapolis last night were from OUT OF STATE," Trump tweeted after Barr's press conference. "They are harming businesses (especially African American small businesses), homes, and the community of good, hardworking Minneapolis residents who want peace, equality, and to provide for their families."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the Minnesota governor and St. Paul mayor comments.