Sessions defends Trump's comments on Charlottesville, says car ramming fits definition of domestic terror

People across the political spectrum have condemned the attack.

ByABC News
August 14, 2017, 8:07 AM

— -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a driver's ramming a car into a crowd of demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, which killed a young woman and sent 19 other people to hospitals, "does meet the definition of domestic terrorism" under U.S. law.

"It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute," Sessions told ABC News' David Muir on "Good Morning America" today. "We are pursuing it in the [Department of Justice] in every way that we can make a case."

"You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is unequivocally an unacceptable, evil attack," he said. "Terrorism investigators from the FBI are working on the case as well as civil rights division FBI agents."

The ramming occurred shortly after authorities in Charlottesville called off a planned white nationalist rally, titled Unite the Right, and ordered crowds to disperse after violent clashes between rally attendees and counterprotesters.

Heather Heyer, 32, who was with a group protesting the white nationalist gathering, was killed when the car plowed into the crowd.

The suspected driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

President Trump drew criticism when, after the ramming, he condemned "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," which some commentators said appeared to draw a moral equivalence between the white nationalists rallying in Charlottesville and the counterprotesters.

But Sessions said on "GMA" that the president "explicitly condemned the kind of ideology behind these movements of Nazism, white supremacy, the KKK. That is his unequivocal position, he totally opposes those kind of values."

The attorney general added, "The president, I suspect, will be talking to the country again soon, maybe today. I plan to meet with him today, and the FBI today will be meeting with him to brief him on this case. He takes this exceedingly seriously."

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