Ruptly is live from the front of the White House in Washington DC on Saturday, November 7 as media outlets called the state of Pennsylvania for Democrat candidate Joe Biden, giving him the 270 college electoral votes needed to win the race.
The ACLU and other civil rights groups filed a motion adding Police Chief Peter Newsham and other officers to the suit, alleging D.C. officers joined federal law enforcement agents in forcibly clearing the square ahead of President Trump’s photo-op outside of St. John’s Church.
The Secret Service abruptly called for reporters to leave the White House grounds Monday night, CNN reported.
Broadcasting from Lafayette Square in front of the White House, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins called the move “incredibly unusual,” telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper “I don’t think we’ve ever been asked to actually physically leave the White House at a time like that.”
Protests in Washington, D.C., have remained peaceful for the past couple of weeks, and Monday night marked the first significant clashes between protesters and police since authorities used pepper spray to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square earlier this month.
Former military officials have increasingly spoken out to rebuke Trump over his response to recent protests against the police-involved death of George Floyd and the president’s threat to dispatch active-duty troops to cities to quell violence and looting that accompanied some of the demonstrations.
In an extraordinary statement Thursday, the top U.S. general expressed regret for his involvement in Trump’s photo opportunity at St. John’s Episcopal Church earlier this month that followed an aggressive clearing of protesters.
Vice presidents and presidents are sometimes encouraged to not be in the same location at the same time.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley says he regrets his participation in President Trump’s photo opportunity outside St. John’s Church last week.
“I should not have been there,” Milley said during a recorded message aired at the graduation of the National Defense University on Thursday morning. “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”
A coalition of civil rights groups including the ACLU of the District of Columbia is suing President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and other federal officials over the brutal police assault on peaceful demonstrators near the White House Monday that cleared the way for the president’s photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
n a federal lawsuit, the groups asserted that U.S. and military police officers’ use of horses, batons, shields and riot control agents — including pepper spray, smoke canisters and rubber or plastic projectiles — violated largely peaceful protesters’ constitutional rights of free speech and assembly 30 minutes before a citywide curfew took effect Monday.
The suit — which also names Attorney General William P. Barr as a defendant — was brought by the ACLU of the District of Columbia, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
I remain confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. They will serve with skill and with compassion. They will obey lawful orders. But I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops. Certainly, we have not crossed the threshold that would make it appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Insurrection Act.
Furthermore, I am deeply worried that as they execute their orders, the members of our military will be co-opted for political purposes.
President Trump on Monday threatened to deploy federal troops if state and city leaders don’t act to quell acts of violence and looting amid the protests over the killing of George Floyd. Moments earlier, just outside the White House, federal authorities used rubber bullets, flash bangs and gas to clear peaceful protesters from the area. Then Trump, who walked across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church, where a fire was set Sunday evening, held up a Bible and nodded to media cameras and posed for photos.
He was there for a “very short period” out of an abundance of caution.