US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called the deadly car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend an act of domestic terrorism.
On Saturday, a 20-year-old man plowed a vehicle into a group of anti-hate demonstrators protesting against a white supremacist rally, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring several others.
Police have arrested the man, named James Fields Jr., and charged him with second-degree murder, and three counts of malicious wounding. Fields had driven to Charlottesville to participate in the “Unite the Right” demonstration organized by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
“It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute,” Sessions said on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Monday. “We are pursuing it in the (Justice Department) in every way that we can make a case.”
Sessions said the Justice Department would bring the heaviest possible charges against the culprit
“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation toward the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack,” he said.
Neo-Nazis 'attempting to legitimate themselves'
Sessions also appeared on other morning news shows on Monday. He told NBC News that white supremacy groups are “attempting to legitimate themselves in any way possible.”
“They are going to find out we are going to come after them for any violations of the law," he stated.
He made the remarks in response to neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer, which praised Trump's response on the deadly Charlottesville protest.
“Trump’s comments were good. He didn’t attack us,” the publication said. “Nothing specific against us.”
President Trump came under bipartisan criticism after he failed to explicitly condemn the white nationalists for Saturday’s outbreak of violence in Charlottesville, which caused three deaths.
The White House later tried to placate critics, saying Trump’s vague condemnation of “many sides” included Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.
It said the president denounced all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred.
Republicans and Democrats have called for a straightforward condemnation from Trump, urging him to denounce the car incident as a terror attack by white supremacists.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of protesters marched across the United States to condemn widespread racism in the country.
The demonstrators were holding signs with messages reading, “No! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” and “Make Racists Afraid Again…Smash White Supremacy!”