"We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity," Barr said.
Barr previously claimed that "outside radicals and agitators" are exploiting the protests for their own goals.
FBI Director Christopher Wray echoed Barr and said some groups are attempting to use the protests to "sow discord and upheaval."
"We've directed our 200 joint terrorism task forces around the country to assist law enforcement with apprehending and charging violent agitators who are hijacking peaceful protests on a national level."Barr and Wray's comments run contrary to a recent FBI investigation, which did not find any evidence that Antifa was involved in the violence that erupted at the Floyd protests over the past weekend.
As reported by The Nation, the report is based on evidence gathered from "CHS [Confidential Human Source] canvassing, open source/social media partner engagement, and liaison." The same report warned of far-right provocateurs using social media to encourage violence against protesters and federal agents.
Conversely, Adam Leggat, a former British Army counterterrorism officer, claims that reports from his security consultant colleagues suggest that most of the destruction from the weekend's activities is linked to far-left anarchists. Leggat also claimed that far-right groups have yet to attend the protests; he also warned of the possibility and the dangers it would pose.
With the help of Barr, President Donald Trump has been taking aim at Antifa. Notably, the president recently said he would be declaring Antifa a terrorist organization, echoing Barr's previous comments on the group.
The announcement was met with pushback from some, including Glenn Greenwald, who argued that such a move would only complicate the situation. According to Greenwald, Trump's announcement is a "classic case of exploiting disorder for authoritarian ends."Greenwald also pushed back on Joy Reid's recent Twitter thread, which he said created an "entire narrative out of whole cloth." The thread suggested outside forces are responsible for infiltrating Minnesota and pointed to Gov. Tim Walz's claim that at least 80 percent of Friday arrests were from outside the state — a claim officials later walked back, per The Hill. An analysis of the coverage of the Floyd protests by Epsilon Theory suggests that the focus on Antifa and white nationalism has become the dominant media focus, as opposed to the initial focus on facts and circumstances of the crime. According to the website, the focus on Antifa and white nationalism is linked to left-wing- and right-wing media outlets, respectively, pushing partisan narratives.