Trump claims exoneration in Lafayette Square clearing out

10 Juin, 2021, 16:22 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • President Donald Trump walks in Lafayette Park to visit outside St. John's Church across from the White House in Washington. An internal investigation has determined that the decision to clear racial justice pro

Instead, the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow the contractor to safely install the antiscale fencing in response to destruction of property and injury to officers occurring on May 30 and 31.

The watchdog's review found that authorities made the decision to clear out the park in order to install fencing amid ongoing rioting in the area following the death of George Floyd, and not for the goal of allowing the president a photo op as many Trump critics claimed at the time.

Trump announced Wednesday that a new report from the Department of Interior's Office of the Inspector General completely exonerates him and his administration from any wrongdoing on June 1, 2020.

"The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park to allow the president to survey the damage and walk to St. John's Church", the report says. "Six other law enforcement agencies assisted the USPP and the Secret Service in the operation to clear and secure areas near the park", the report continues. The USPP wasn't aware of Trump's movement until "mid-to-late" afternoon that day, after it had already started to develop its operational plan, according to the report.

We found that the USPP had the authority and discretion to clear Lafayette Park and the surrounding areas on June 1.

The Park Police official said he hadn't known until then that Trump would be entering the park that evening.

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"I come away from this report skeptical of the version presented here", said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva, a California Democrat, in a statement.

Barr reportedly asked the operations commander, "Are these people still going to be here when POTUS comes out?'" The operation to clear out protesters was exclusively created to restore order after the agency assessed that the situation on the ground had turned violent, and to follow through on prior plans to install more impenetrable barriers around the park, he said.

The fence was installed by a contractor from 7:30pm to 12:30am on June 2.

Last June 1, President Trump delivered a speech at the White House denouncing nationwide riots, then walked through Lafayette Square to St. John's Episcopal Church, which rioters had partially burned the night before, and held a Bible.

However, the report by Interior Department Inspector General Mark Greenblatt on Wednesday indicated that Park Police had already planned to clear the area and was already in the process of implementing that plan before they knew that Trump would be making an appearance.

The inspector general additionally laid out recommendations should similar situations arise in the future.

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