Trump Celebrates 'Exoneration' in June 2020 Clearing of Lafayette Square

Trump Celebrates 'Exoneration' in June 2020 Clearing of Lafayette Square

The U.S. Department of Interior's Office of the Inspector General has released its findings of a probe into law enforcement's actions on June 1 of a year ago, when police removed protesters from Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., ahead of then-President Donald Trump's stroll through the area to St. John's Church, which was damaged after protesters set it on fire.

On May 31, 2020, Antifa/Black Lives Matter-led rioters set the historic St. John's Church in Washington, D.C.

Shortly after the park was cleared, Trump and other officials arrived on scene to walk through the park.

Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt's report explains that on June 1, 2020, the Secret Service and United States Park Police made a decision to clear protesters from Lafayette Park in order to allow a contractor to install antiscale fencing the Secret Service obtained that morning.

"Protesters in the crowd recognized the Attorney General and began shouting at him", the investigation reported.

The contractors began erecting the anti-scale fence by 7:30 and completed the project just after midnight.

Democrats and the media falsely claimed that Trump had used "tear gas" to clear "peaceful protesters" from the park simply for a "photo op".

Attorney General William Barr watches a Republican Exhibit video of people rioting during the House Judiciary Committee hearing in the Congressional Auditorium at the US Capitol Visitors Center

"The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park to allow the president to survey the damage and walk to St. John's Church", the report says.

The report goes on to state that the park had instead been cleared to allow space for the contractor to install the fencing, and that they didn't know about President Trump's plans until alter in the afternoon on June 1.

Mr Trump thanked the Interior Office's Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt on Wednesday for "exonerating" him.

Ken Dilanian said on MSNBC the finding by the inspector general was "really surprising" that the park police had cleared the park out not for Trump, but to place the fencing, and admitted that despite previous reports that protests were nonviolent, that there was violence on the part of the protestors leading up to the placing of the fencing. Trump said in response to the IG report.

It also found that three warnings had been issued to those at the park but acknowledged that some people may not have heard the warning and that the warning did not tell people how to exit the area.

The report found that inadequate communication between federal officials "may have contributed to confusion during the operation and the use of tactics that appeared inconsistent" with initial plans.

Former President Trump claimed exoneration after a watchdog report on Wednesday determined that his plans to walk through Lafayette Square did not influence officers' decisions to clear protesters out of the park past year.

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