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Schumer calls for DOD watchdog probe of treatment of protesters outside White House

Schumer calls for DOD watchdog probe of treatment of protesters outside White House
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that the Defense Department inspector general should probe the treatment of protesters outside of the White House on Monday.

"Secretary [of Defense Mark] Esper, General [Mark] Milley should not allow the U.S. military to come within a country mile of these ugly stunts. The administration is using the military as a tool to intimidate American citizens and the Department of Defense IG must immediately launch an investigation into how the U.S military was used and whether it was consistent with the laws of our nation," Schumer said from the Senate floor. 

Schumer’s demand for an investigation comes after a chaotic scene outside of the White House on Monday.

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Around 6:45 p.m., law enforcement sent tear gas and smoke bombs into a crowd of peaceful protesters. The National Guard was instructed to clear the area around the White House so the president could walk across the street to St. John’s Church, which had been set on fire by vandals the night before.

Trump said at the White House on Monday that he would mobilize “all available federal resources, civilian and military” to clamp down on protests across the country, including dispatching the military across Washington, D.C.

Esper and Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have also stoked ire for their response to the crisis, with Esper telling governors, according to leaked audio of the call, that governors need to “dominate the battlespace."

The decision to use tear gas on a peaceful protest has sparked fierce backlash from Democrats.

Schumer, on Tuesday, said Trump has been a “failure at handling” the fallout from the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

“It was appalling. It was an abuse of presidential power. It may have well been illegal and it was blatantly unconstitutional,” Schumer said. 

“There’s no one home at the White House and the lights are off. I fear for the future of our country, that in this time of immense difficulty, our president is only capable of contributing more division, more fear, more chaos,” he said.