Legal scholar Jonathan Turley criticized FBI Director Christopher Wray for calling the Jan. 6 riot “domestic terrorism” in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
“I believe that Director Wray’s characterization of the riot as domestic terrorism is overbroad and unsustainable,” said Turley. Wray called the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol, where some participants broke through police barriers and destroyed federal property, an act of “domestic terrorism,” in March 2021.
None of the protestors committed acts meeting the legal definition of terrorism, Turley claimed.
The Department of Justice handed charges of seditious conspiracy and other offenses to key Proud Boys leaders on Monday related to their role in allegedly encouraging the protest that became a riot at the Capitol.
“It does not belittle the horrible actions on that day to call them criminal rather than terroristic acts,” said Turley. “As legally defined, I do not believe that the riot was an act of domestic terrorism and believe that such a sweeping characterization could be used against a host of groups across the political spectrum.”
Turley made his remarks during a hearing “Examining the ‘Metastasizing Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack.” It addressed the “expansion of domestic terrorism investigations,” according to a statement published on Turley’s personal website.
Senate Republicans blocked the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, a Democrat-sponsored bill on May 26 that would open up offices in federal agencies dedicated to domestic terrorism.
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 7, 2022
“The use of terrorism laws for such violent protests is inimical to free speech,” claimed Turley.
The hearing took place in light of an attack where a self-described “white supremacist” and “anti-semite” allegedly shot and killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York, on May 14. President Joe Biden called the attack “domestic terrorism” and “violence inflicted in the service of hate” in remarks at a Buffalo community center after meeting with the victims’ families.
The FBI declined to comment on the matter, while Turley did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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