Trump Rhetoric Empowers Dangerous Fringe Violence

By Michael German

Michael German is a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Program. His work focuses on law enforcement and intelligence oversight and reform. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Mr. German served as the policy counsel for national security and privacy for the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office. A sixteen-year veteran of federal law enforcement, Mr. German served as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations. As an undercover agent, German twice infiltrated extremist groups using constitutionally sound law enforcement techniques.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday returned to his stance that there is “blame on both sides” for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia at a white nationalist rally. “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people — on both sides,” Trump said.

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch,” Trump said, adding that what he called the “alt-left” came “violently attacking the other group.”

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