Secret Service Dir. Called To Brief Congress On Violence Against WH Protesters
House Democrats have demanded that President Donald Trump’s Secret Service director brief Congress on the president’s walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday evening for a photo op, after law enforcement officers used tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bang grenades to clear peaceful protesters from Trump’s path.
The Independent reported that Secret Service Director James M. Murray has been requested to appear before Congress to explain the incident.
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote in a letter to Murray: "I request to receive a briefing no later than June 5, 2020, to understand the role of the United States Secret Service in planning, coordinating and executing these actions.”
Bennie also said he appreciates the "difficult decisions" Secret Service agents face as acts of violence pop up at otherwise peaceful protests but was "stunned, disturbed, and furious at the sight of federal authorities tear-gassing peaceful protesters" on Monday evening just before the 7 p.m. curfew began.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also said Tuesday that the Homeland Security panel and possibly the Judiciary and Oversight Committees likely will investigate Trump’s walk to the church and actions by police.
“I would expect the appropriate committees to look at this, whether it's Judiciary, Homeland Security, Oversight. All the facts that you just mentioned we ought to deduce,” Mr Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday.
“I would hope that the committees would look at what directions [Mr Trump] gave” regarding law enforcement's heavy-handed street clearance, Mr Hoyer said.
He continued: "It was an act indicating the total lack of understanding and empathy with the anger and frustration and cry for justice that was being put out — simply to facilitate a photo up obviously designed for political purposes, not designed to bring the country together.”
Trump also faced criticism from Republican Senator Ben Sasse (NE) over the stunt:
"There is a fundamental — a Constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop,” Mr Sasse said in a statement to Politico.