Trump’s Rump Coverer’s Other Mission: Militarized Voter Suppression [UPDATE-3]
[NB: Updates at bottom of post. /~Rayne]
We all know Bill Barr has been hard at work covering Trump’s ass since he was sworn in February 14th last year. What a nasty Valentine’s Day present for us.
His lies have been ridiculously egregious, from the manner in which he misled the public about the findings in the Special Counsel’s Report, to his lies to broadcast media about the election.
He’s also obstructed justice by politicizing and obstructing investigations, including removal of personnel overseeing their conduct.
A particularly low point in Barr’s tenure was his deployment of federal personnel to harass and intimidate peaceful protesters so that Trump could get a photo-op, occupying a church without clerical permission so Trump could wave a Bible upside down on camera.
It’s all of a piece, and it’s getting worse.
Federal personnel without clear identification have been snatching people off the street in Portland, Oregon.
Militarized Federal Agents from a patchwork of outside agencies have begun policing Portland (in rented minivans vans) without the explicit approval of the mayor, the state, or local municipalities. This is what that looks like in practice: pic.twitter.com/losap4SsgI
— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) July 15, 2020
Read the entire Twitter thread. This is like Pinochet’s Carabineros de Chile and secret police, disappearing civilians. It’s not clear what has happened to these people who’ve been grabbed — they aren’t Mirandized in public view, they aren’t told why they are being dragged away.
And the state and local government didn’t ask for this federal intervention, just as Mayor Bowser didn’t ask for Barr to deploy Department of Justice personnel in Washington D.C. to ensure Trump could get his obscene photo-op.
Worse, we can’t be certain exactly who it is pulling people off the streets. It could be white nationalists in cosplay.
Apart from the “POLICE” patch, these guys are dressed *exactly* like many of the militia and boog boys who have violently raided and attacked BLM protests.
All the nazis have to do is go on Etsy to look identical.
They are setting us up to be shot by feds or kidnapped by Nazis. pic.twitter.com/jiuiyTVR4y
— Gwen Snyder is uncivil and also Antifa (@gwensnyderPHL) July 16, 2020
Why aren’t local law enforcement demanding more accountability from Barr and his Stasi?
Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden has been asking for answers after federal employees shot unarmed peaceful protesters hitting one in the face:
The consequences of Donald Trump unilaterally dispatching fed’l law enforcement into U.S. cities played out in Portland w/a peaceful protester shot in the head. Trump & Homeland Security must now answer why fed’l officers are acting like an occupying army https://t.co/tnLz0nddGw
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) July 12, 2020
This is a clear violation of citizens’ First Amendment rights. But Wyden hasn’t yet asked about these secret federal police who are acting without state or local authorization, snatching citizens off the streets.
Trump has been warning/threatening to send federal agents to cities in blue states — this is pointed politicization of law enforcement, and more since these states have not requested federal help in policing protests.
Flanked by AG Barr, Pres says he’s planning announcement next week on Federal action to quell violence in cities, citing Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago. He says some cities “are like war zones,” and makes it partisan, saying they’re run by “liberal, left-wing Democrats.” pic.twitter.com/MEPVVrk1Dq
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 15, 2020
But these Stasi aren’t there to de-escalate tensions. They’re deployed instead to suppress citizens trying to exercise their right to vote, like these National Guard in Philly’s streets on primary election day:
— TauhidChappell (@TauhidChappell) June 1, 2020
There’s no way around it: Bill Barr is setting up a secret federal security force which may end up working like death squads targeting anyone who protests Trump or his administration, particularly citizens in cities which vote for Democrats.
The threats are getting worse, what with White House press doofus implying Chicago may be targeted next.
Hey, Karen. Watch your mouth. pic.twitter.com/zhjRyokKD5
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 16, 2020
Mayor Lightfoot isn’t having any of it, but where is Congress?
Both houses need to address this immediately before it gets any worse. Congress needs to investigate Bill Barr’s use of armed federal personnel who are not clearly identified while policing without the request of states and cities, violating citizens’ rights in the process.
GOP senators may argue they aren’t affected but can they really afford to lose any more votes because Barr overreached and suppressed their voters, too?
There’s enough here apart from Barr’s obstruction of justice that Barr should be impeached and removed from office.
UPDATE-1 — 10:00 P.M. ET —
Which agencies? Is it just U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and Customs and Border Protection’s BORTAC or are there more involved so far? We need answers from their leadership about the lack of identification.
Oregon Public Broadcasting confirms tweets today that federal officers in camouflage but no agency identification or badges, driving unmarked non-government rental cars, are grabbing protestors off streets in Portland and not talking w local authoritieshttps://t.co/sfY9TUkbDI
— David Burbach (@dburbach) July 17, 2020
Portland’s mayor wants the feds out.
This is clearly a coordinated strategy from the White House.
It is irresponsible and it is escalating an already tense situation. Remove your heightened troop presence now. https://t.co/po6jOg43RT
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 16, 2020
The federal agencies’ presence is not making things better, it’s making things worse.
Perhaps like Trump’s response to COVID-19 that’s the point: it’s about making things worse.
UPDATE-2 — 10:45 P.M. ET —
Not getting better. It looks like it’s getting rapidly worse. Somebody in DOJ or DHS want to explain why this vehicle is in Portland?
WTH, the feds have brought in a Stryker to downtown Portland, presumably for use against protestors? https://t.co/rU0sseeZfe
— David Burbach (@dburbach) July 16, 2020
UPDATE-3 — 11:23 P.M. ET —
That’s it? That’s all DHS would provide? The utter arrogance of a department funded by our tax dollars.
Just head back from DHS about our questions involving federal law enforcement officers use of unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters. w/@_jlevinson pic.twitter.com/8BLS7Xnew8
— Conrad Wilson (@conradjwilson) July 17, 2020
Persons garbed like federal agency personnel are kidnapping American citizens off the street without any explanation and this is all the information the feds will share?