2020-08-04@22:31:46 GMT
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Lafayette Square:

    Cody Fenwick August 2, 2020 11:29AM (UTC) This article originally appeared on AlterNet. An officer in the D.C. National Guard delivered a damning account of the events surrounding the federal crackdown on protesters in Lafayette Square in testimony released by the House of Representatives on Monday. Adam DeMarco, a senior officer tapped to serve as a liaison between the National Guard and the Park Police, was on the scene during the June 1 assault on protesters, as his opening statement for a planned hearing on Tuesday explained. While the president gave a speech to reporters at the White House, federal officers, including the Park Police, violently cleared demonstrators, the media, and others from the nearby area. Shortly thereafter, the president walked...
    The head of U.S. Park Police insisted Tuesday that the forceful routing of protesters from the square in front of the White House last month had “zero correlation” with President Donald Trump’s staged photo event minutes later. But he was unable to point to any immediate threat that justified his officers’ sudden, violent drive against the hundreds gathered there. Gregory T. Monahan’s testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee was his first extended accounting of the Park Police’s offensive against protesters and journalists June 1 in Lafayette Square. Attorney General William Barr, testifying separately on Trump’s deployment of hundreds of federal officers and agents against nationwide protests this spring and summer, also distanced Trump’s photo event from the decision to...
    Shawn Thew/CNP via ZUMA For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.Many questions linger over what led to the events outside in the White House on June 1 in Lafayette Square, wherein US Park Police attacked peaceful protesters with tear gas and excessive force moments before Donald Trump strolled through the park for a photo op in front of a nearby church. The USPP has insisted that the reason for the crackdown wasn’t for Trump’s photo op, but instead to install a new perimeter fence. The agency has also maintained that the protesters weren’t peaceful, which necessitated the use of force and defensive weapons to clear the park. But during a House Natural Resources...
    Getty Adam D. DeMarco, Major District of Columbia National Guard, testifies during the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Unanswered Questions About the US Park Police's June 1 Attack on Peaceful Protesters at Lafayette Square on July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Major Adam DeMarco testified in front of the House Natural Resources Committee Tuesday about what he says was excessive force used by law enforcement against protestors at Layfayette Square in Washington D.C on June 1st. The episode drew criticism after reports from witnesses and the media said law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters. DeMarco, who was there in the capacity of a Senior National Guardsman that evening called the incident “deeply...
    Rep. Pramila Jayapal said she was beginning to lose her temper during a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General William Barr. The Washington Democrat peppered Barr on Tuesday with questions about the use of force by federal law enforcement officials during protests in Washington, D.C., and suggested racism was behind officers using shields and pepper balls in June to disperse a crowd protesting the death of George Floyd. “Mr. Barr, on June 1, there were protests against the murder of George Floyd and police brutality in Lafayette Park. Let us not be distracted ... as to what these protests were actually about. They were about the persistent killing of black bodies by law enforcement and finally, finally,...
    Gregory Monahan, acting chief of the U.S. Park Police, defended the forceful removal of protesters from a park near the White House on June 1 that immediately preceded President Trump's photo-op before a church, saying his officers "acted with tremendous restraint." Monahan testified to the House Natural Resouces Committee that neither the White House nor Attorney General William Barr ordered the removal of protesters from Lafayette Square, and that the incident commander of the Park Police ordered the clearing because protesters had turned violent from May 29 to June 1 and more than 50 officers had been injured during that time. Monahan told lawmakers that the park clearing – roughly 30 minutes before the planned 7 p.m. curfew – and installation of new fencing had nothing to do with...
    The head of the Park Police on Tuesday said he knew that President TrumpDonald John TrumpRead: Attorney General William Barr's written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee Barr expected to blast Democrats for efforts to 'discredit' him in upcoming hearing 22 people facing federal charges in connection to Portland protests MORE was going to Lafayette Square on June 1, but denied that this was why protesters were cleared from the area.  “We were notified earlier in the day that the president was going to visit Lafayette Park to view the damage that was done to the park over the course of the preceding days, but we were not given a time on when he was visiting,” acting Chief Gregory Monahan...
    The decision to use force to clear protesters out of a park next to the White House on June 1 had nothing to do with President Donald Trump's photo op outside the adjacent St. John's Church moments later, the acting chief of the U.S. Park Police told Congress on Tuesday. [ READ: D.C. Guardsman ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Lafayette Square Crackdown ]"We did not clear the park for the photo op," acting Chief Gregory Monahan told the House Committee on Natural Resources in a hearing designed to examine the violent and subsequently contentious events in Lafayette Square two months ago. "There is, 100%, zero, no correlation between our operation and the president's visit to the church." Monahan said Park Police leaders had...
    An officer of the National Guard is expected to invoke whistleblower protection at Tuesday's House hearing probing the use of force during a protest in Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square last month, pitting him against President Trump and the acting chief of the U.S. Park Police, who have polar opposite accounts of the same incident. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco said the warnings by officers – required by law – that the park was going to be cleared of hundreds of demonstrators, who he says we largely peaceful, were “barely audible” from his position 20 yards away, according to his pre-written testimony to House Natural Resources Committee. “From what I could observe, the demonstrators were behaving peacefully,” when Park Police, the Secret Service and other unidentified forces, some...
    (CNN)President Donald Trump's visit to a church near the White House on June 1 was not the motivation for clearing the area of peaceful protesters, the head of the US Park Police told Congress on Tuesday. Acting Chief Gregory Monahan said the dispersal began about an hour after trucks carrying fortified fencing arrived near Lafayette Square after days of violent protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Soon after the group was cleared, President Donald Trump walked through the area for a photo opportunity outside St. John's Church off the park. "We did not clear the park for a photo op," Monahan testified. "There was 100%, zero, no correlation between our operation and the President's visit to...
    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The U.S. Park Police and Secret Service violently routed protesters from Lafayette Square last month without apparent provocation or adequate warning, immediately after Attorney General William Barr spoke with Park Police leaders, according to an Army National Guard officer who was there. The account of National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco challenges the Trump administration’s explanation that vicious attacks by protesters led federal forces to turn on what appeared to be a largely peaceful crowd June 1 in the square in front of the White House. Law enforcement and security officers that night clubbed and punched protesters and unleashed mounted officers and chemical agents against them in one of the most controversial confrontations at the height of...
    The National Guard officer paints a different picture than the one painted by the Trump administration in regards to the events of June 1. A National Guard Major is preparing to challenge before congress the official explanation given by the Trump administration in regards to the forceful clearing of Washington’s Lafayette Square on June 1, The Washington Post reported. Major Adam DeMarco was stationed at the park, which had become a central location in the Black Lives Matter protests stemming from the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, when orders were given to clear the area of demonstrators. He did not believe the actions of both Park Police and Secret Service were justified. “From what I could observe,...
    National Guard commander Adam DeMarco will testify before a House committee Tuesday that "excessive use of force" was used against protesters in Lafayette Square on June 1, refuting the attorney general's assertions that force was justified.  DeMarco, an Iraq veteran who now serves as a major in the D.C. National Guard, will be testifying Tuesday before the House Committee for National Resources, which is investigating the use of force on the protesters. According to a publicly released opening statement, DeMarco will say that what he witnessed was "deeply disturbing."  "Having served in a combat zone, and understanding how to assess threat environments, at no time did I feel threatened by the protesters or assess them to be violent," DeMarco will say. ...
    An officer in the D.C. National Guard delivered a damning account of the events surrounding the federal crackdown on protesters in Lafayette Square in testimony released by the House of Representatives on Monday. Adam DeMarco, a senior officer tapped to serve as a liaison between the National Guard and the Park Police, was on the scene during the June 1 assault on protesters, as his opening statement for a planned hearing on Tuesday explained. While the president gave a speech to reporters at the White House, federal officers, including the Park Police, violently cleared demonstrators, the media, and others from the nearby area. Shortly thereafter, the president walked across the street that had been cleared for a photo-op at St....
    Law enforcement officers in Lafayette Square employed unnecessarily heavy-handed tactics to clear out protesters ahead of a photo op by President Donald Trump in early June, a D.C. National Guard officer who was among the most senior military soldiers on the scene plans to tell Congress on Tuesday. [ READ: Pentagon Troubled By Overly Militarized Federal Agents in Portland ]"The events I witnessed at Lafayette Square on the evening of June 1 were deeply disturbing to me, and to fellow National Guardsmen," Adam DeMarco will tell the House's Natural Resources Committee at a planned hearing on Tuesday about the protest marked by a violent police crackdown, according to testimony the committee released Monday. Having been activated to support the D.C. government's...
    Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael E. Horowitz is launching an investigation into federal use of force against protesters and “civil unrest” in Portland, Oregon. A Thursday press release notes that the DOJ watchdog is beginning work on the probe in response to Congressional requests and a referral from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon — as well as from “complaints” directly received by Horowitz’s office. The primary focus of that investigation will center on “use of force allegations involving DOJ law enforcement personnel in Portland, Oregon in July 2020” and will be coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). Secondarily, the probe will consider the earlier actions of...
    The ACLU is calling on Attorney General Bill Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate officers' treatment of protesters in Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square on June 1. The Park Police and National Guard had responded to the scene that day to clear a crowd. The ACLU echoed claims that officials used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse peaceful demonstrators and that Barr's role in the incident prohibits his involvement in any probe of the matter. PARK POLICE WALK BACK TEAR GAS DENIAL IN AGGRESSIVE LAFAYETTE PARK CLEARING "Given your own acknowledged role in ordering the clearing of Lafayette Square, you must take all necessary steps to ensure that you and others involved in the ordering and carrying out of the use of force...
    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Tuesday demanded the appointment of a special counsel to investigate and potentially prosecute any individuals responsible for the allegedly unconstitutional clearing of peaceful protesters out of Lafayette Square on June 1. “Given your own acknowledged role in ordering the clearing of Lafayette Square, you must take all necessary steps to ensure that you and others involved in the ordering and carrying out of the use of force have no role in the appointment or supervision of the special counsel,” the letter addressed to Attorney General William Barr said. On June 1, law enforcement officers using tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets forcefully removed the crowd of demonstrators protesting against police brutality in the...
    Bradley Cortright July 14, 2020 0 Comments Attorney General William Barr is facing calls for an independent investigation into the decision to clear protesters who had gathered outside the White House in early June. On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to Barr to demand that he appoint a special counsel to look into the decision to disperse the protesters. “The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) strongly urges the appointment of a special counsel to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute any federal criminal violations of protesters’ constitutional rights in Lafayette Square Park,” the letter read.  It continued, “On that day, at approximately 6:25 pm, federal and other government forces attacked peaceful protesters and journalists covering the event...
    A Falls Church, Virginia, man and his daughter say D.C.’s police were involved in the June 1 chemical-aided clearing of protesters Lafayette Square ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church. The allegation is part of an amended lawsuit against the president, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and other White House officials filed by groups including the ACLU. More than once, including on June 2, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham denied his officers were involved in supporting the action against protesters ahead of Trump’s walk through the square. In a news release posted on July 8, the ACLU said information provided by Dustin Foley, and his daughter, was being added to the lawsuit. Foley can be seen...
    Monday night, Lafayette County Supervisors in Mississippi voted unanimously not to move the Confederate statue from Oxford Square. The vote happened in a meeting where the issue was not on the agenda. Fox 13 spoke with one supervisor about the vote and to an Ole Miss football player who organized a march to push to remove the statue. The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors voted not to take down the Confederate statue in Oxford Square. (Google Street View) According to Ole Miss linebacker Momo Sanogo, the statue paints Lafayette County unfairly. “It puts a cover of a book or something that we are not a very welcoming community and everything,” said Sanogo. “When that is what you see when...
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    During House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry in late 2019, Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley was the GOP’s star witness and argued against impeaching President Donald Trump. But when Turley spoke to the House Natural Resources Committee this week, he asserted that if the clearing of Lafayette Square by Washington, D.C. police on June 1 was merely a “photo-op” for Trump, Attorney General William Barr needs to resign. On June 1, nonviolent protesters were violently removed from Lafayette Square in order for Trump and others to walk from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church — where Trump gave a speech and was photographed holding up a copy of the Holy Bible. Turley, according to the New York Daily News’...
    When U.S. Park Police forcefully pushed peaceful protesters away from the White House and Lafayette Square on June 1, they performed a “violent and senseless operation,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, during a Congressional hearing about the incident on Monday.  Around 6:30 p.m. — a half-hour before Washington D.C.’s curfew — videos show U.S. Park Police using projectiles, batons, and gas to move protesters away from the park. Soon thereafter, President Donald Trump left the White House and staged a photo-op with a Bible in front of St. John’s Church. READ MORE: Twitter rips Trump’s Bible photo-op in front of church after protest remarks Trump administration officials, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper and...
    U.S. Park Police string security tape around Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020. (AFP via Getty Images/Mandel Ngan) Witnesses told members of Congress on Monday that law enforcement officers forcefully cleared out peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House earlier this month with little warning and indiscriminate attacks on some of those in the crowd. The use of chemical agents by officers in riot gear, who at times shoved people out of the way, came before a 7 p.m. D.C. curfew was to go into effect on June 1. The action also occurred shortly before President Donald Trump walked through the area and held up a Bible in front of...
    The Department of Justice on Saturday announced charges against four men for their alleged involvement in the vandalization of the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., during a demonstration earlier this week. The news broke just hours after President Trump tweeted 15 individual press releases from the U.S. Park Police, with photographs of suspects who allegedly desecrated the monument, which lies on federally owned property. Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia; Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland; and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine, were all charged in a criminal complaint Friday with "destruction of federal property," according to the Justice Department (DOJ). The charges were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin; Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington...
    The Department of Justice on Saturday announced charges against four men for their alleged involvement in the vandalization of the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., during a demonstration earlier this week. The news broke just hours after President Trump tweeted 15 individual press releases from the U.S. Park Police, with photographs of suspects who allegedly desecrated the monument, which lies on federally owned property. Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia; Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland; and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine, were all charged in a criminal complaint Friday with "destruction of federal property," according to the Justice Department (DOJ). The charges were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin; Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington...
    Four men alleged to have been trying to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square just outside of the White House were each charged with destruction of federal property on Friday, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. The incident took place on Monday, June 22, when Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia; Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of D.C.; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine were allegedly trying to take down the Jackson statue, along with other unidentified individuals. The unsealed complaint alleged, according to the release, that Cantrell was captured on video attempting to pry the statue off its base with a wooden board and trying to...
              The U.S. Department of the Interior released new footage this week of violent riots outside the White House in Lafayette Square. President Donald Trump has faced criticism for his decision to clear protesters out of the square on June 1 before he took photos with members of his administration in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. A group of House Democrats asked four federal agencies to explain the decision to disperse protesters from the square. In response, the Department of the Interior released new footage this week of aggressive clashes between agitators and law enforcement officers. In a press release, the agency said all of the footage was recorded prior to June 1....
    Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday welcomed news that an Interior Department watchdog has begun an official probe into law enforcement’s violent attack on peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square outside the White House earlier this month. “The Trump administration has had three weeks to offer a clear explanation of why it used excessive force against accredited journalists and peaceful, unarmed protesters, but we still have no good answers,” Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said in a statement. “The White House narrative is contradicted by video evidence, eyewitness accounts, and even its own past statements. Frankly, it has no credibility at this point,” he said. The statement from Grijalva, along with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), was in response to the Office...
    Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonThis week: Congress set for showdown on police reform legislation House Democrats to vote next week on DC statehood 'Defund the police' movement hits semantics roadblock MORE (D), Washington, D.C.’s representative in the House, will introduce legislation next week to remove the statue of Andrew Jackson from Lafayette Square right outside of the White House. Norton announced the proposal one day after protesters tried toppling Jackson’s statue before being dispersed by law enforcement. The statue is one of numerous figures targeted for removal by protesters across the country in recent days. In announcing her bill, Norton underscored Jackson’s role in forcefully relocating thousands of Native Americans during his time as president and his position as a slave...
    On Monday night in Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington D.C., a black park police officer stood his ground silently while a white man who allegedly was pushed by the officer after the white man had reportedly put his hands on a police officer got in the face of the black officer and started abusing him, ranting, “Your child is gonna say you’re a piece of s***. Your mom is gonna say you’re a piece of s***. And if your mother doesn’t, I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for your family. You’re a piece of s***. You’re a piece of s***. You really are. You really are. You’re part of the f***ing problem.” Turning to another...
    Trucks carry fencing and barriers that will be put up in Lafayette Square. (WTOP/Ken Duffy) The fencing in Lafayette Square that was taken down after the height of protests in D.C. following the killing of George Floyd is now back up. Trucks loaded up with fencing, and barriers were in the area Tuesday to erect the 8-foot tall fencing that once surrounded the area near the White House. Fencing and barricades are going back up at Lafayette Park. As close as I could get looking east down H Street where police are keeping people out. #dcprotest pic.twitter.com/3bcUzv7RUt — Ken Duffy (@KenDuffyNews) June 23, 2020 This comes a day after protesters tried to take down a statue of former President...
    Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt criticized protestors in Washington, D.C. after a tense Monday night of demonstrations that saw protestors attempt to topple the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square. "I just left Lafayette Square where another so called “peaceful protest” led to destruction tonight," Bernhardt tweeted just before 11 p.m. Monday. "Let me be clear: we will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be served." I just left Lafayette Square where another so called “peaceful protest” led to destruction tonight. Let me be clear: we will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be served.— Secretary David Bernhardt (@SecBernhardt) June 23, 2020 In the past...
    Washington — Protesters tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson near the White House Monday night before being dispersed by police. CBS D.C. affiliate WUSA-TV reported that police used pepper spray to move protesters out of Lafayette Square, where the Jackson statue is located. WUSA reporters were hit with some of the spray. Protesters started calling for medics, and many members of the crowd could be seen rubbing their eyes, the station said. At least one protester was seen being carried out of the park by other protesters, WUSA added. 11:25PM — Confrontation between police and protesters at Lafayette Square White House line #BlackLivesMatter @WUSA9 pic.twitter.com/fs5bjoj89Z— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) June 23, 2020 LATEST — Here’s what it...
    President Trump took to Twitter late Monday to announce that “numerous people were arrested” in Washington, D.C., as protesters attempted to tear down a statue of Andrew  Jackson in Lafayette Square Park and—once again—targeted the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church. “Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street,” Trump tweeted. “10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!” David L. Bernhardt, the secretary of the Interior Department, said he visited Lafayette Square and witnessed the destruction.  He said the country “will not bow to anarchists.  Law and order will prevail, and justice will...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Protesters tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson near the White House Monday night before being dispersed by police. WUSA-TV in Washington reported that police used pepper spray to move protesters out of Lafayette Square, where the Jackson statue is located. Videos posted on social media showed that the protesters had climbed on the statue and tied ropes around it, then tried to pull it off its pedestal. The statue shows Jackson in a military uniform, riding a horse that is rearing on its hind legs. The 19th century president's ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target of demonstrators protesting the United States' legacy of racial injustice. The Jackson statue...
    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.” Reporters are told to leave the White House amid reports protesters attempted to remove an Andrew Jackson statue nearby.@kaitlancollins reports saying tensions are running high. pic.twitter.com/BotitSUYK3— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) June 23, 2020 Protesters demonstrated in Lafayette Square Monday into the evening and attempted to bring down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson that sits in the middle of the...
    WASHINGTON – Protesters tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson near the White House Monday night before being dispersed by police. WUSA-TV in Washington reported that police used pepper spray to move protesters out of Lafayette Square, where the Jackson statue is located. Videos posted on social media showed that the protesters had climbed on the statue and tied ropes around it, then tried to pull it off its pedestal. The statue shows Jackson in a military uniform, riding a horse that is rearing on its hind legs. The 19th century president's ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target of demonstrators protesting the United States' legacy of racial injustice. The Jackson statue remained...
    The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General is reportedly probing the actions of Park Police earlier this month when demonstrators were removed from a park near the White House prior to President Trump’s walk to a nearby church. A spokesperson for the internal watchdog told the Hill on Monday that it is looking into the Park Police's actions during the incident, which included the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls to drive protesters from Lafayette Square, which is located next to the White House. “Given the significance of the events, we have already begun collecting and reviewing information,” the spokesperson said. “After we make an initial determination of which agency had command and control of the...
    NEW YORK (AP) — Charlottesville. Helsinki. The children in cages at the Mexican border. And now Lafayette Square. Only a few legacy-defining moments have clung to President Donald Trump, who often appears to emerge relatively unscathed from a seemingly endless stream of crises and controversies. But the forceful clearing of demonstrators from the park across from the White House has resonated like few others, prompting top military leaders and usually lockstep Republicans to distance themselves from him. It’s one of those rare images that seems unlikely to be overwritten by tomorrow’s headlines, instead claiming a prominent place in Trump’s entry in the history books. It also could help shape an election less than five months away. Even the...
    NEW YORK (AP) - Charlottesville. Helsinki. The children in cages at the Mexican border. And now Lafayette Square. Only a few legacy-defining moments have clung to President Donald Trump, who often appears to emerge relatively unscathed from a seemingly endless stream of crises and controversies. But the forceful clearing of demonstrators from the park across from the White House has resonated like few others, prompting top military leaders and usually lockstep Republicans to distance themselves from the president. TOP STORIES Four St. Louis police officers charged with beating undercover colleague Judge rejects bid to stop Trump rally Trump finalizes rule defining gender as a persons biological sex It is one of those rare images that seems unlikely...
    The official story about the violent clearing of Lafayette Square so Donald Trump could have a photo op has changed several times, and it’s still filled with lies. Lie after lie has come from the Trump administration—Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the White House itself. The protesters were violent, they’ve claimed. Falsely. The protesters were warned to move, they’ve claimed. Also falsely. There was no tear gas, they said. Also falsely. There were a lot of reporters on the scene, and The Washington Post did a video reconstruction of what happened that clearly shows the lies. But the Trump administration and U.S. Park Police (an agency with a loooong history of being the bad guys when it comes to protest) keep making those false claims. So The Washington Post went...
    The official story about the violent clearing of Lafayette Square so Donald Trump could have a photo op has changed several times, and it’s still filled with lies. Lie after lie has come from the Trump administration—Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the White House itself. The protesters were violent, they’ve claimed. Falsely. The protesters were warned to move, they’ve claimed. Also falsely. There was no tear gas, they said. Also falsely. There were a lot of reporters on the scene, and The Washington Post did a video reconstruction of what happened that clearly shows the lies. But the Trump administration and U.S. Park Police (an agency with a loooong history of being the bad guys when it comes to protest) keep making those false claims. So The Washington...
    Princeton professor Eddie Glaude said Monday that a fence erected to secure the White House from protesters in Washington D.C.’s Lafayette Square reminded him of the Berlin Wall. “As I watched the fence erect, come up, and I saw people react to it and I saw the art on the fence, it reminded me of how the Berlin Wall became a symbol of oppression and what was spray painted on the wall, when the wall came down, what we saw,” Glaude said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We saw an expression of freedom over an expression of authoritarianism, or, shall we say unfreedom,” the professor said about the Berlin Wall, noting that the fence too is going to be “a...
    (CNN)More than a half-dozen officials from the National Guard, federal law enforcement and public safety agencies have challenged the Trump administration's narrative that the clearing of peaceful protesters outside the White House earlier this month was unrelated to President Donald Trump's subsequent walk to a nearby church for a photo-op, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Their accounts come after Trump declared himself "your President of law and order" as the protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets, after which he visited a nearby church. He remained at the boarded-up building, brandishing a Bible for the cameras, for only a matter of minutes before returning to the White House.Following the episode, Attorney...
    (CNN)The US Secret Service issued a statement Saturday saying an agency employee used pepper spray on June 1 during efforts to secure Lafayette Square and clear protesters from the area just prior to President Donald Trump's controversial photo-op at a local church. In a statement, the Secret Service noted it previously "released information stating the agency had concluded that no agency personnel used tear gas or capsicum spray during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park on Monday, June 1, based on the records and information available at the time. Since that time, the agency has learned that one agency employee used capsicum spray (i.e., pepper spray) during that effort.""The employee utilized oleoresin capsicum spray, or pepper spray, in...
    President Trump, in an extensive interview with Fox News, said he's "fine" with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley's move to express regret for accompanying the president during a photo op last week at Lafayette Square -- while defending his own actions that day. Speaking to “Outnumbered Overtime” host Harris Faulkner, the president responded to implicit criticism from Milley and other military figures over the handling of his visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House last week, after part of the church had been set on fire the night before. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN MILLEY SAYS IT WAS 'MISTAKE' TO APPEAR WITH TRUMP IN LAFAYETTE SQUARE The nearby park had been forcibly cleared of protesters shortly before the walk to the church,...
    Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that walking with President Donald Trump through Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church on June 1 “was a mistake.” Milley delivered a pre-recorded address at a commencement ceremony for the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., during which he stated he “should not have been there.” US President Donald Trump walks with US Attorney General William Barr (L), US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper (C), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley (R), and others from the White House to visit St. John’s Church after the area was cleared of people protesting the death of George Floyd June 1, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo...
    WASHINGTON -- Army Gen. Mark Milley, the nation's top military officer, said Thursday he was wrong to accompany President Donald Trump on a walk through Lafayette Square that ended in a photo op at a church. He said his presence "created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.""I should not have been there," the Joint Chiefs chairman said in remarks to a National Defense University commencement ceremony.Trump's June 1 walk through the park to pose with a Bible at a church came after authorities used pepper spray and flash bangs to clear the park and streets of largely peaceful protesters demonstrating in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minnesota in police custody.Milley's statement risked the wrath of...
    WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration on Wednesday began to remove most of a new fence blocking demonstrators and other members of the public from in front of the White House.Officials abruptly erected the high, black metal fence, estimated to be more than a mile long, last week to block demonstrators from Lafayette Square outside the White House. That was as massive crowds rallied in Washington and around the country to protest the killing of George Floyd in police custody and other deaths of African Americans at the hands of police.Protestors worked to reclaim the space after the fence went up, covering a large portion of it with colorful handmade signs protesting racism and police brutality.As the fence comes down, the...
    More than 1,250 former Justice Department employees have signed a letter calling for an investigation into Attorney General Bill Barr’s role in the clearing of Lafayette Square just before President Trump walked over to St. John’s Church in Waashington, D.C. on June 1. They are asking Inspector General Michael Horowitz to look into the “full scope” of Barr’s and the Justice Department’s role in quelling recent civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in police custody. “We are deeply concerned about the Department’s actions, and those of Attorney General William Barr himself,  in response to the nationwide lawful gatherings to protest the systemic racism that has plagued this country throughout its history,” read the letter, signed by 1,264 ex-DOJ...
    The Trump administration appears to be retreating from its commitment to quickly remove most of a new fence blocking demonstrators and other members of the public from in front of the White House. Instead, National Park Service spokeswoman Katie Liming says only that her agency is in “continuing discussions” with the Secret Service about what Liming called the temporary security fencing at the front of the White House. Officials abruptly erected the high, black metal fence last week to block demonstrators from Lafayette Square outside the White House. That was as massive crowds rallied in Washington and around the country to protest the killing of George Floyd in police custody, and other deaths of African Americans at the hands of...
    Following the announcement that Washington D.C.'s Lafayette Square will reopen after several George Floyd related protests, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History said it's contemplating collecting signs that were posted on security fences, which are now set to be removed. Officials from the museum are in discussions to procure the signs around Lafayette Square, spokeswoman Melinda Machado told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “Certainly the National Museum of American History is listening to our communities and working to document the present moments through a variety of objects and stories,” she said. GUARDIAN ANGELS SEEN PROTECTING NYC BUSINESSES FROM LOOTERS VideoThe National Park Service said the Secret Service and U.S. Park Police will have taken away most of the temporary fencing that...
    Mr. President, tear down this wall – around Lafayette Square. That’s the message from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to President Trump regarding the extra fencing erected in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square following last week’s protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody. In a letter to Trump, Pelosi and Schumer asked the president to take down the fencing and reopen Lafayette Square – calling the park “a place which has long been a venue where Americans can gather to freely exercise their constitutional rights in close proximity to the White House.” “You have now erected heavy, semi-permanent steel fencing to wall off the Square,” the lawmakers...
    White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House has “no regrets” over the controversial clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square before President Trump walked across the street last week to St. John’s Church. “There are no regrets on the part of this White House because, look, I would note that many of the decisions were not made here within the White House,” McEnany told reporters of the park clearing last Monday. She referenced how the attorney general has said he approved the clearing of the protesters. “It was Attorney General Barr who made the decision to move the perimeter Monday night. Park Police had also made that decision independently when they saw the violence in Lafayette Square,” she said. McEnany...
    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter Monday to President Donald Trump calling for Lafayette Square, the area in front of the White House, to reopen. “We call on you to immediately reopen Lafayette Square to the public, a place which has long been a venue where Americans can gather to freely exercise their constitutional rights in close proximity to the White House. On June 1, 2020, you were responsible for ordering federal officers to force peaceful protestors from the Square using tear gas and other violent means, in clear violation of the protestors’ First Amendment rights of free of speech and assembly,” the joint letter reads. “This deeply offensive action was...
    President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have drawn widespread criticism for the president’s actions on Monday, June 1, when Washington, D.C. police violently removed nonviolent protestors from Lafayette Square in order to clear a path for the president to make a speech and enjoy a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church nearby. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, was briefed on the events by a member of the D.C. National Guard — and according to New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel, the takeaway is that Barr was told the protestors were peaceful. In a June 7 press release, Norton describes “an eyewitness account given to” her “by a National Guard member who was on duty” in the nation’s...
    (CNN)A spokesperson for the US Park Police said Friday afternoon that the department had made a mistake by denying use of tear gas to clear peaceful protesters from a public park outside the White House earlier this week. Not long after, the department's acting chief once again denied using tear gas.Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, a spokesperson for the Park Police, told CNN on Friday he now realized the department could have called the pepper balls it used "tear gas," reiterating what he had first told Vox, that it was a "mistake" to say the force hadn't used tear gas on Monday."The point is we admitted to using what we used," Delgado first told Vox. "I think the term 'tear gas' doesn't...
    Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump decided to walk across Lafayette Square for a photo-op. To get there, however, it took an outright battle with mounted park police, police covered in body armor and rattled Secret Service members who had just rushed the president to the bunker several nights before. Armed with semi-automatic weapons and military gear, they staged a siege on Lafayette Square against unarmed hippies, woke whites and people of color, again, forced to fight for justice. Writing for the Washington Post Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot attacked Attorney General Bill Barr, who accepted responsibility for demanding that demonstrators be tear-gassed, beaten and shot with rubber bullets. Like Bull Conor ordering fire hoses on students marching in Birmingham, Alabama, Barr’s attack...
    (CNN)House Democrats are demanding that four federal agencies explain the decision on Monday to clear protesters out of Lafayette Square ahead of President Donald Trump's walk to St. John's Church for a photo-op.Four Democratic chairmen wrote to Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Wednesday seeking information and a briefing by next week about who gave the order to clear the park, which federal agencies were involved and what measures and authorizations were used."On Monday, we watched in horror as federal officers, mounted on horseback and clad in riot gear, used tear gas, pepper spray, smoke cannisters, stun grenades, and rubber bullets to forcibly remove peaceful protestors...
    Authorities have admitted to deploying smoke canisters and PepperBalls. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, has been the local epicenter of the last five days of protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last week. The statue-dotted green space, just north of the White House, is usually filled with residents and tourists taking a break from work or from a long day of visiting monuments. But on the evening of June 1, just as President Donald Trump was making a speech about authorities asserting themselves in the face of the Floyd-inspired protests around the country, a combination of shield-wielding police from federal agencies (Secret Service, Park Police, DC National...
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked a resolution by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday to condemn President Trump for his visit to St. John’s Church after federal law enforcement officers in riot gear cleared protesters in Lafayette Square a day earlier. “Congress condemns the President of the United States for ordering Federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting in Lafayette Square,” the resolution read. But there have been differing accounts about who gave the order to disperse the protesters Monday -- and why and how it was done. Some vocal anti-Trump critics -- such as Episcopal bishop Mariann Budde, who oversees a church near the White House that caught fire during a protest --...
    Attorney General Bill Barr ordered law enforcement officials to extend the perimeter of Lafayette Square before President Trump ventured outside the White House on Monday to visit sites vandalized during violent protests, administration officials tell Fox News. According to one senior administration official, the plan had been made to extend the perimeter of the park -- which is across the street from the White House -- by one block. Both peaceful and violent protests have taken place at Lafayette Square in recent days. The order was executed Monday afternoon just minutes before the president gave a public address on the nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd. The act -- which came shortly before a city curfew went into effect -- has ignited outrage from critics...