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Thousands of National Guard troops could begin leaving DC on Monday, commander says

Thousands of National Guard troops could begin leaving DC on Monday, commander says
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Thousands more National Guard troops called in from other states during protests over the death of George Floyd could begin leaving Washington, D.C. as early as Monday, the commander of the D.C. National Guard told CNN.

The nearly 4,000 additional National Guard forces “will be redeploying this week. Probably as early as Monday," Maj. Gen. William J. Walker said.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Thousands of troops dig in for inauguration Watch Out: Progressives are eyeing the last slice of the budget MORE also told the network that several nights of peaceful protests after earlier incidents of looting and property damage have increased the likelihood of withdrawing the out-of-state troops.

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"Well, we're looking very hard at that. I think that if we look at the trend that we're on right now we're in very good shape and we're looking at that option very closely," McCarthy said, citing the large but incident-free crowds that gathered in the nation's capital on Saturday. The secretary of the Army oversees the D.C. National Guard, as do governors for their states' equivalents.

Walker also denied National Guard involvement in the Monday evening clearance of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park before President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE traveled to a nearby church for a photo op. Park Police initially said tear gas was not used before walking back the denial.

"They held the line, they never advanced on the crowd," Walker said, referring to National Guard members.

Walker also said the troops had only been present as a last resort throughout the protests.

"Drive around, you'll see the National Guard and what you see is the National Guard in what we call the second row, maybe the third row, so there's federal agencies, federal law enforcement, United States Park Police, United States Secret Service, then you might see National Guardsmen. So if you get to a Guardsman, a lot has gone wrong," he added.

D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserSunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration DC mayor says she's concerned about threats to residential neighborhoods Threats transform capital into military zone ahead of inauguration MORE (D) has repeatedly asked both Trump and state governors to remove out-of-town National Guard members from the city.