Trump's Secret Service director called to brief Congress about violent dispersal of peaceful protesters near White House

Griffin Connolly

House Democrats are demanding that Secret Service Director James M. Murray appear before Congress to brief lawmakers about Donald Trump's short walk to St. John's Church in Washington, DC, for a photo op on Monday after mounted law enforcement officers deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bang grenades against peaceful protesters to clear a path for the president.

"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," House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote to Mr Murray in a letter obtained by The Independent.

Mr Thompson wrote that while he understood Secret Service agents have faced "difficult decisions" as they have responded to acts of violence that have broken out at White House protests in recent days, he was "stunned, disturbed, and furious at the sight of federal authorities tear-gassing peaceful protesters" near Lafayette Square just north of the White House on Monday minutes before DC's 7 p.m. curfew.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had said earlier that he expects the Homeland Security panel and possibly the Judiciary and Oversight Committees to probe Mr Trump's walk to the famed church, which occurred shortly after the curfew.

“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,” Mr Hoyer said, regarding law enforcement’s heavy-handed clearance of peaceful protesters outside the White House so the president could walk to the famed church.

Mr Hoyer did not commit to bringing Congress back to censure Mr Trump for his walk to the church and potentially directing law enforcement to take the actions it did.

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