Sessions Says Charlottesville Attack Meets Definition of 'Domestic Terrorism'

The U.S. attorney general is the second Trump administration official to call the attack an act of terrorism after adviser McMaster's Sunday statement

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. August 11, 2017. Picture taken August 11, 2017.
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions became the second Trump administration official to condemn the weekend attack in Charlottesville as an act of terrorism on Monday.

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Speaking on ABC's "Good Morning America," Sessions said that the attack "does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute." Sessions called the car ramming attack in which one protestor was killed while demontrating against a nationalist right-wing protest an "evil attack."

“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.

In addition to the statement by the attorney general, on Sunday Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said that he too considered the attack an act of terrorism.

"I certainly think anytime that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism," McMaster told ABC's "This Week." ''It meets the definition of terrorism. But what this is, what you see here, is you see someone who is a criminal, who is committing a criminal act against fellow Americans."

President Donald Trump has since remained out of sight and silent while pressure is mounting from both sides of the aisle for him to explicitly condemn white supremacists and hate groups involved in the deadly, race-fueled clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump, who has been at his New Jersey golf club on a working vacation, was set to make a one-day return to Washington on Monday to sign an executive action on China's trade practices. But he will likely be unable to escape questions and criticism for his initial response to the Saturday's violence, for which he blamed bigotry on "many sides."

Jeff Sessions, also vigorously defended Trump in nationally televised interviews Monday morning and said he expects to hear more from the commander-in-chief on the matter.

"We will not allow these extremist groups to obtain credibility," Sessions told "CBS This Morning."

Sessions told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the Justice Department would pursue the case involving an Ohio man who plowed his car into counter-protesters at the white nationalist rally in Virginia.

"You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is an unequivocally unacceptable and evil attack that cannot be accepted in America," Sessions said.

In the hours after the incident, Trump addressed the violence in broad strokes, saying that he condemns "in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides."