Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants leaders within top U.S. agencies to commit to not deploy federal agents to cities amid protests, noting specifically if President Donald Trump loses the upcoming election and does not leave office peacefully.
Warren penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Attorney General William Barr, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Tuesday, where she called on them to stop Trump from turning the various agencies into his “personal militia.”
“You are each responsible for the command of military or civilian troops and domestic law enforcement personnel in your agencies,” Warren wrote in the letter. “I urge you not to allow these personnel under your command or supervision to be used in any future domestic actions against people exercising their right to protest.”
The senator urged those who are in charge of the departments to not allow Trump to send federal law enforcement agents into cities with civil unrest. She noted opposition from local leaders in multiple states to the idea of federal agents being sent to their cities.
She wrote, “The deployment of federal paramilitary forces against civilians is a historic embarrassment for our nation, and harms the United States’ standing in the world. It has also contributed to the valid concern that President Trump — with the complicity of agency heads that agree to send these personnel — is turning your departments’ personnel into tools of authoritarianism.”
Warren said the potential for Trump “to activate domestic forces as his ‘personal militia'” is “even more disturbing” due to his remarks recently where he would not commit to accepting the results of the upcoming presidential election if he were to lose.
The Massachusetts senator added:
“I therefore write to seek your assurances that you will not allow the military or civilian forces under your control to be used by the President to suppress dissent and democracy.”
“This is an urgent matter for American democracy and for the safety of Americans peacefully protesting in their communities,” she concluded.
Warren is requesting answers to her questions by August 3 the latest. One of the questions the senator asks is, “In the event President Trump loses the election and will not peacefully leave office, will you refuse to deploy the military or federal law enforcement forces under your control in support of his defiance of the voters’ will?”