By Steve Neavling
The threats posed by domestic terrorists remain “persistent and evolving,” with the FBI investigating about 850 active cases, FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity told the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday.
“The FBI assesses domestic terrorists collectively pose a persistent and evolving threat of violence and economic harm to the United States. In fact, there have been more arrests and deaths in the United States caused by domestic terrorists than international terrorists in recent years,” McGarrity said, according to CNN .
Of those cases, about 40% are racially motivated, often involving white supremacists, he said.
Despite this, President Trump has insisted white nationalism isn’t a serious threat, saying “it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.” That comes after Trump’s lukewarm response to the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, that left one person dead and others injured.
During Wednesday’s hearings, Democrats seized on Trump’s insistence on downplaying the threat posed by white supremacists.
“Unfortunately, President Trump has tried to play both sides with domestic terrorism,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who leads the committee. “His unwillingness to denounce and distance himself from these extremists has been taken by many as tacit support.”
In 2018, 17 people were killed in six attacks by domestic terrorists, McGarrity said.