FBI Found No Link to Antifa, But 40% Still Blame Group for Pro-Trump Capitol Riot: Poll

A surprisingly large number of Americans blame Antifa for last week's violent breach of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, despite the FBI determining that there is no evidence the group was involved.

In a new poll from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 40 percent of respondents said that Antifa, the largely unorganized movement of anti-fascist activists that President Donald Trump has repeatedly lobbied be designated a "terrorist organization," was either "significantly" or "somewhat" responsible for the Capitol attack. Of that number, 27 percent believed that Antifa was significantly responsible.

Trump, who has come under fire by many who say his rhetoric incited the riot, still received most of the blame in the survey. The outgoing president was deemed responsible by 67 percent of respondents, including a 53 percent majority who said that he was significantly responsible. Members of white supremacist, far-right or militia groups were deemed culpable at a similar level, with 64 percent assigning them some portion of the blame.

Capitol Trump Riot Antifa Poll
A group of President Donald Trump's supporters pause to take photographs after violently breaching the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

A majority of respondents also agreed that two other groups bore at least some responsibility for the insurrection. Members of Congress who voted against certifying Biden's Electoral College win were deemed responsible by 55 percent, while social media companies were blamed by 51 percent. Biden was blamed by 27 percent, including by 16 percent who believe that the president-elect was significantly responsible, despite no evidence that he was even remotely involved.

The poll was conducted on behalf of ADL by polling firm YouGov. Respondents, consisting of 1,176 U.S. adults, were surveyed online in the two days follow the attack, January 7 and January 8. It has a margin of error of 2.95 percent.

The FBI has found no evidence for Antifa involvement in the Capitol riot, according to a call agency officials held with members of the press on Friday. Countless videos and photographs of the event, along with other evidence, have shown that those directly involved in the attack were a group of pro-Trump extremists, fueled by baseless conspiracy theories claiming that massive fraud had "stolen" the election from the president.

Not long after the angry mob breached the Capitol building as Congress met to certify Biden's win, new conspiracy theories formed online to explain away their violent actions, which resulted in the deaths of five people. Prominent Republicans including Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin quickly repeated the unfounded allegations that the rioters were Antifa members.

Many boosting the false claims cited a report published on the night of the attack by conservative newspaper The Washington Times, which said that a "retired military officer" had confided that a facial recognition software firm identified two out of the hundreds of people who breached the building as Antifa members.

The report was discredited the following day when the firm cited, XRVision, released a statement saying that its software had not identified any of the rioters as Antifa members. Instead, the firm said, the software had identified two people participating in the insurrection as members of neo-Nazi groups and another as a prominent supporter of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory.

Newsweek reached out to the Washington, D.C. field office of the FBI, which declined to comment.