Attorney General William Barr has disputed reports that he ordered Park Police in Washington, D.C. to tear gas peaceful protesters earlier this week, claiming police were already en route to Lafayette Square to disperse demonstrators by the time he reached the plaza. He told the Associated Press that he did not order law enforcement to disperse the crowd, casting it as a decision by the police, though he did say he had earlier drawn up a plan that required the park to be clear. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said this week that Barr had given the command. Officers aggressively pushed demonstrators and deployed tear gas, smoke bombs, and pepper balls as the president and other top officials walked to Lafayette from the White House. When they reached the park, they took photos in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church with a Bible. Trump’s former Defense Secretary, retired general Jim Mattis, rebuked him over the display.
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