The expected incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to top Trump administration officials Tuesday warning that when Democrats take over the chamber, they will investigate the rise in hate crimes — and how President Trump’s policies and rhetoric may be enabling it.
“There appears to be a politically driven effort to diminish programs that empower communities to counter the influence of extremist ideology,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), the panel’s top Democrat, wrote to acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “Reporting also suggests that the Administration remains focused on targeting specific racial and ethnic minorities as the suspected main sources of domestic terrorism.”
In the letter, Nadler pointed to the Homeland Security Department’s plans to track Muslims and the FBI’s focus on “Black Identity Extremism,” calling them “concerning trends in law enforcement” — especially when held up against Trump’s rhetoric praising nationalism, accusing foreigners of fomenting domestic terrorism and refusing to condemn neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville.
Nadler demanded that Whitaker, Wray and Nielsen respond by the end of the year to Democrats’ outstanding letters requesting information about the Trump administration’s decision to refocus the Countering Violent Extremism program predominantly on Muslims, as well as letters urging a greater focus on threats to Jewish organizations and on prosecuting perpetrators of hate crimes.
He also demanded that they provide documents related to racial profiling and terrorism, including any intelligence assessments focusing on the “Black Identity Extremists” the administration has singled out, as well as any efforts to turn the focus of anti-terrorism and community programs to apply strictly to Muslims and countering Islamic ideologies.
“We need to work together to study the disturbingly increasing number of hate crimes, the growing threat of the far right and right-wing extremism, and the disparate treatment of minority communities in terrorism investigations,” Nadler wrote.