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In-Depth Interview: Journalist Trevor Aaronson Examines ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Prosecutions, and Profiles Trump-Triggered Extremists

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Trevor Aaronson, investigative reporter at The Intercept, returns to talk about two recent articles.Aaronson is the author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism and has been reporting for The Intercept for several years.

We open with a discussion of this article examining why some domestic crimes are tagged as terrorism, when similar crimes are not.  We talk about the legal and political implications of designating an attempted or completed crime that’s based on ideology and intimidates the public as “terrorism”.  It can enable the use of “material support charges” which are often very weak.

We also touch on recent calls from politicians and law enforcement officials for new laws aimed at “domestic terrorists”, when it appears that the FBI has not been aggressive or effective in investigating cases like Cesar Sayoc, the Florida Trump loyalist who mailed pipe bombs to Democrats and media outlets, or William Bowers, the Trump supporter who killed 11 at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

We also discuss this article, which profiles Michael Hari and the White Rabbit Three Percent Illinois Patriot Freedom Fighters Militia.  Hari was radicalized by the Branch Davidian conflict in Waco, and is now accused of masterminding attacks on a mosque and a women’s center.  Hari is so devoted to Trump that he submitted a bid of over $10 billion to build 1,500 miles of walls on the southern border.