WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Long-delayed DHS report calls white supremacy top domestic extremist threat. “I am particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years,” acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf wrote in the report’s forward. The threat assessment also warned of an increased risk of extremists hijacking protests — or reacting to COVID-19 restrictions — with violence. A former DHS staffer turned whistle-blower previously accused agency higher ups, including Wolf, of blocking the report and attempting to downplay far-right threats to bring them in line with President Trump’s public pronouncements on antifa and left-wing extremism. The new report did not specifically single out antifa.
The rapid rise — and spectacular fall — of a neo-Nazi insurgency. Vice News provides an incredibly detailed glimpse into the short history of The Base, a group that wanted to bring about a white ethnostate and was implicated in high-profile domestic terrorism plots. The investigation focuses on their secretive leader (who allegedly fled to Russia), the group’s quick expansion through encrypted chat apps, and how a combination of media coverage and FBI surveillance of group communications quickly decimated the hate group’s membership. Trace context: My colleague Alain Stephens reported on how three members of a Base cell built up an arsenal of DIY weapons before being arrested for allegedly planning to commit violence at a Richmond, Virginia, gun rally last January.
They lost their daughter in the shooting. The pandemic provided a different kind of risk for their son. Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene lost their 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace, in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Jimmy, a jazz musician, dedicated his 2014 album to his daughter’s memory; Nelba became a writer and activist and launched a foundation to support traumatized children. In a deeply affecting profile in The Washington Post, they recount the emotional struggle of letting their 16-year-old son Isaiah return to his boarding school after they discovered classes would not be virtual — and amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases in their state. “Imagine the difficulty in sending your surviving child into a classroom when you lost your baby in a school shooting,” Nelba wrote in one Facebook post. “We sent him because we didn’t want him to be afraid.”
By the numbers: The increasing lack of diversity among federal prosecutors. An Associated Press analysis found that 85 percent of Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys in the Trump administration are white men, a less diverse composition than the three previous administrations. Out of 93 new U.S. attorneys, two are Black, two are Latino, and nine are women. By comparison, the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations saw white men make up 58, 73, and 63 percent of their U.S. attorneys, respectively.
Philadelphia sues the state of Pennsylvania over pre-emption law. The suit — announced Wednesday by the mayor and City Council — comes as the city is on pace for its highest level of homicides since 2007. Pennsylvania is one of 44 states with a law that bans municipalities from enacting gun laws stricter than those set by state legislatures. The suit is asking a state court to declare the law unconstitutional. “In short, the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s actions have stoked the gun violence epidemic,” it reads. In addition to the city, plaintiffs in the suit are families of victims of gun violence and a state gun violence prevention organization.
$10+ million — the total amount of money provided to researchers this year from the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research. Early this morning, the collaborative announced a round of $2.7 million in grants to support research on gun attitudes among urban youth, gun markets, and the factors determining acceptance or denial of red flag orders. [NCGVR]