Political News

Democrats ask Trump administration for answers on rise of white nationalism in US

Posted November 27, 2018 10:00 a.m. EST

— Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee are gearing up to make the rise of white nationalism in the US a point of investigation when they take control of the gavel in January.

In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and FBI Director Christopher Wray, incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler warned he wanted answers from the administration on a series of questions he has asked in the past about reports that Trump had intended to "overhaul the government Countering Violent Extremism program in a manner that would target and single out Muslim Americans" or whether additional services could be dedicated to investigate hate crimes.

Nadler, a Democrat from New York, asked the administration to answer questions in detail to more than a handful of letters they have sent over the last two years.

"As you are no doubt aware, Members of the House Judiciary Committee have written repeatedly to the Trump Administration and (current Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia) on matters related to domestic terrorism, countering violent extremism, domestic surveillance, and the unfair profiling of racial, religious, and ethnic minority groups. To date, we have received little or no substantive response to any of these communications," Nadler wrote. "In the next Congress, this Committee will likely examine the causes of racial and religious violence, assess the adequacy of federal hate crimes statutes, and scrutinize targeted domestic surveillance of specific groups."

Nadler also asked the administration to answer additional questions about any efforts the administration has made to target specific racial groups.

"The Administration remains focused on targeting specific racial and ethnic minorities as the suspected main sources of domestic terrorism," Nadler wrote. "A draft report by the Department of Homeland Security, leaked in early 2018, details a plan to track and surveil Sunni Muslims in the United States. The FBI's August 2017 Intelligence Assessment—issued shortly after nation-wide protests against police brutality—concluded that "Black Identity Extremism," defined in part by "perceptions of police brutality against African Americans," remains a threat to law enforcement."

Nadler's letter comes just a month after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue left 11 dead and as the incoming Judiciary chairman sets out to define what his committee plans to investigate come January. Earlier this month, Nadler asked Whitaker and Wray to respond to a "back log of unanswered requests" Democrats have made over the last two years related to how the White House has interacted with the Justice Department.