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Waters: President’s authoritarian administration is becoming a ‘regime’

Federal agents acting with force

OW Staff Writer | 7/30/2020, midnight

Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s use of federal law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., and around the country:

“Donald Trump is again misusing his executive power to create what appears to be a paramilitary organization, supposedly comprised of Department of Homeland Security agents, empowered to act as his unaccountable secret police. This force, which is flooding cities run by his political opponents with violence, unconstitutional abductions, and illegal detentions of citizens, makes it obvious that Trump’s time in office should be defined not as an administration but as a regime.

“This president administers, governs, and manages nothing. Instead of a real presidential administration, the American people are left to witness an authoritarian regime using tactics in our streets more typical of third world dictatorships than a thriving democracy. Because of the grave concern I have for the damage Trump’s actions have done to our nation, I recently signed a letter, along with over 100 of my colleagues, to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security demanding information, transparency, and accountability for the neo-fascist actions of both Departments, done at the instruction of their leader.

“Far-right supporters of this president have said before that if Trump was ever removed from office, “it would cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation…” a quote the president himself re-tweeted. Now, we are seeing the beginnings of such a conflict, with the president calling on federal agents to patrol our streets, arrest individuals without any proof or pretense of criminal activity, engage in violence with protestors, seize citizens and drive off with them in unmarked vans, and roam areas other than federal property, despite the justification for such action being the supposed protection of federal land and assets. Protestors linked peacefully in arms have been tear gassed, some have been critically injured, and many journalists have been harassed and threatened.

“Further, Defense Secretary Mark Esper made clear that he is concerned with United States military uniforms being worn by law-enforcement agencies in our cities, yet that is exactly what is occurring in Oregon. This president, of course, does not listen to his generals or Secretary Esper, military minds who he does not respect, having claimed he knows “more than the generals.” Despite this claim he doesn’t know enough, or doesn’t care, that the orders to invade United States cities and the subsequent actions of Trump’s secret police have violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition against arbitrary arrest, the First Amendment right to free speech, the First Amendment right to peacefully assemble, the First Amendment right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, and the Fifth Amendment right to due process of law.

“Now Trump is threatening to take his fascist, unconstitutional secret police to Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities run by his opposing political party in a series of totalitarian decisions that mirror the behavior of third world country dictators.

“I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to hold this administration accountable by obtaining the answers and transparency to which our citizenry is entitled and, under our Constitution, guaranteed.”