Denounce Trump’s Threats to Use Military Force Against Protesters
(June 2, 2020) — Yesterday, Donald Trump threatened to use military force against protesters. This is unacceptable. We can’t ignore this.
FIRST: Leaked audio of a call to governors revealed Trump demanded they “dominate the streets” against protesters.
THEN: Trump attacked peaceful protesters with tear gas so that he could pose for a photo op.
NOW: Trump is threatening to deploy the US military to “solve the problem.”
We cannot stay silent. Trump must be stopped. Our petition is catching fire and we wanted to make sure you had a chance to sign. We need every American to make their voice heard and condemn Trump’s attacks on the right to protest.
Can President Trump Really Order Troops Into Cities?
(June 2, 2020) — In his speech in the Rose Garden on Monday evening, President Trump said, “If the city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” Can he do that? Can the President send the US military into a state, even when the governor of that state doesn’t ask for its assistance, or even if the governor actively opposes such a step?
The answer is no, probably. The reasons relate to a venerable principle in American law: that the military should stay away from actions on domestic soil. One of the founding principles of the Republic was that the federal military should not be involved in domestic law enforcement. But, over the years, the law has carved out certain narrow exceptions to that rule, notably in the form of the Insurrection Act, from 1807.
This law says that: “whenever there is an insurrection in any state against its government, the President may, upon the request of its legislature or its governor,” call in the armed forces. So that seems pretty simple. The President can bring in the military only if a governor or a state requests it.
In recent years, the law has been invoked only when governors have requested the assistance of federal troops, such as in 1992, when California sought help in quelling the rioting after the acquittals in the Rodney King case. (Similarly, in 1967, Governor George Romney, of Michigan, requested federal troops to control riots in Detroit.)
Now, however, the governors of California, Illinois, and Michigan have all made it clear that they will not seek the involvement of federal troops in their efforts to handle disturbances in their states.
But that’s not the end of the story. There is another provision of the Insurrection Act that arguably gives the President greater unilateral authority. This provision states that, when the President determines that there are unlawful activities, which “make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States,” he may call in the armed forces. It was passed in 1956, in order to give Presidents the authority to enforce civil-rights laws.
President Eisenhower invoked it to send Army troops to enforce the integration of the public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. It’s unclear whether the law, which was based on the protection of constitutional rights, would give Trump the authority he wants to overrule governors today.
Governing by Spectacle
In other words, there appears to be some ambiguity about the President’s authority to do what he promised to do. It may be, of course, that Trump merely wanted to threaten the use of the military without ever intending to follow through. On Monday, the President was governing by spectacle — ordering the clearing of peaceful protesters so that he could stage a photo opportunity with a Bible at a nearby church.
The threat to send troops was a similarly showy gesture. Trump was trying to look tougher than the governors, but he didn’t take any actual responsibility for bringing calm to the country. If he were to send troops, the burden would be on him to show results.
In all likelihood, then, there will not be the clashes that the President’s remarks portend. He will not send troops into a state that doesn’t want them. But, in threatening to do so, Trump has shredded another norm. He has abused his power in yet another way, extending his legacy of lawlessness and authoritarianism, with more such abuses likely in the months to come.
# Rodion Raskolnikov — It appears that Trump thinks he can order federal troops into any city he chooses. Toobin shows that he may legally be able to do it. From the point of a citizen, he’d better not do it. We are all on the “fascism alert” and any signs of the central regime using the military against its own citizens will mark a clear tipping point.
But there’s another more worrying history. The use of Federal troops against US citizens has already been institutionalized or normalized by the Dept. of Homeland Security through its Fusion Centers. Through Fusion Centers, Homeland Security has integrated all police and military functions from the lowest local sheriff to the Pentagon’s special forces:
“Within each state and major urban area, fusion centers have an important responsibility to build strong partnerships with other field-based law enforcement and homeland security entities at all levels of government.”
The media has ignored fusion centers because they are such a direct violation of the Constitution and of democracy itself.
Homeland Security theory sees American citizens as potential insurrectionaries or domestic terrorists. The mentality here parallels Israel where Palestinians are not considered citizens but sources of domestic terrorism. Israeli policing is counter-terrorism and so is Homeland Security’s Fusion Center theory. See, “The Role of Fusion Centers in Countering Violent Extremism.”
So we already have a huge structure for using federal troops against American citizens. The Insurrection Act of 1807 is just quaint and a nice distraction. The structure exists. Just take a look at what is happening. In Washington DC last night, there were US soldiers, Federal Police, DC police, Special Forces and more all working in coordination to control — or as Trump puts it, “dominate the streets.”
The US already has a nationalized counterterrorism force to combat any protest and demand for justice anywhere in the US. Fusion Centers also coordinate with local and national corporations so there’s a private sector operation, too. This includes media.
# Elroys — So, there he goes again. There go all the pundits again (and I think Jeffrey Toobin is excellent — so don’t get me wrong). The real issue is that there is no leadership in Congressional Repubs — all are stuck to trump and are tied to his fortunes – they’re hopefully dead and will simply follow him straight to jail and then to hell.
Where are the leaders — zero business people speak out — cowards. Zero military who know exactly what’s going on. Zero from the Dems. They know what’s going on.
# giraffee23 — The congress can but not the president. Hope he does ONLY if the house takes his action as impeachable. Then let him argue impeachment while running for president.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the GOP hires looters to infiltrate the protestors to do the damage. Odd that the police appear when only the protestors haven’t gone home as directed but when there are looters, fires, etc — all I hear is “WHERE’S the police”
Hire detectives to join the protestors to determine WHO is causing the RIOTS
# elkingo — Can President Trump Really Order Troops Into Cities? Can Hitler Really Attack Poland?
# chrisconno — Trump is making this a case of sending in our military to quell, or is it kill, their own people because the police are so busy killing their own people. Doesn’t that qualify as tyranny? Isn’t this trifecta of crisis just what Trump wants, a reason to postpone the elections. That isn’t supposed to be allowed according to the constitution, but that’s never stopped him or the republicans before.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.