It’s a cinch that Trump will be tweeting about this soon, maybe even before this post goes live, in light of this weekend’s vicious attack on journalist Andy Ngo. How could he resist? Mainstream Democrats are reluctant to offend progressives by denouncing “anti-fascists” and Trump would love to showcase that squeamishness in the context of a violent assault on a bystander who did nothing more than show up to report. He’ll find a way to make Pelosi and Schumer choke on this.
Trump ordering a DOJ investigation of Portland’s Democratic mayor over the incident might go too far, letting Dems argue that the president is meddling in the Justice Department’s work for partisan political reasons. But there’s no reason why Cruz can’t exhort the department to get cracking.
To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists. https://t.co/5xyCDARICl https://t.co/c0Tf3SsKEf
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 30, 2019
Ambassador Ric Grenell is nudging them as well:
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) June 30, 2019
As Jake Tapper rightly noted, the attack on Ngo wasn’t the first time Antifa droogs had assaulted a journalist — although I’m unclear as to why so much mental energy was expended on social media this weekend debating whether Ngo is a “journalist” or not. It was inevitable, I guess, with moral cretinism like this floating around…
Hey ted cruz this guy incited this type of violence pic.twitter.com/QJ6Gs3gSJU
— Jason (@Jason_19_99) June 30, 2019
…but in the end it doesn’t matter. Ngo was a law-abiding bystander with the same right as any journalist to be there. His defenders are emphasizing his credentials as a reporter because, I think, doing so highlights the fact that he was performing a public good and underscores how far Antifa is willing to go to duck accountability by the press. He wasn’t just watching for his own amusement or edification. He was gathering information about who these degenerates are and how they operate to alert the public. But in the end, the moral question was simple: Was he entitled to be where he was? And was he provoking anyone? If the answers are yes and no, respectively — and they are — then his purpose for being there is irrelevant.
I hope he sues everyone. The droogs, the cops, the garbage mayor. Probably won’t win a suit against those last two but the bad publicity from it might shame them at least into not letting Antifa operate like some sort of Weimar-era street enforcers.
Question for legal eagles, then: What sort of action might the feds conceivably take here? Some righties want Antifa declared a domestic terror organization but I don’t know that any legal consequences would flow from that if it were to happen. (DHS has already taken to referring to the group in terms of domestic terror, remember.) It’s possible, I guess, that the DOJ could pursue action against Portland PD and the mayor a la the consent decrees sometimes entered into when local police departments demonstrate a pattern of violating citizens’ rights. But (a) Jeff Sessions limited the use of consent decrees shortly before stepping down as AG, and (b) the complaint here isn’t that Portland PD and the mayor are violating people’s rights so much as that they’re looking the other way at third-party assaults. Can there be a consent decree for failure to stop crime aggressively enough? Seems shaky.
So far just three people have been arrested for Saturday’s melee. Free advice for POTUS: Call on Congress and/or state legislatures to pass laws enhancing criminal penalties for those who commit assault while wearing a mask. Those laws have been used in the past against the KKK so they have a noble political pedigree. There was an effort to pass such a law at the federal level last year but, at last check, it had gone nowhere. Revive it now and dare Pelosi to oppose it. Make her show her cards.