‘Unacceptable’: Home Democrats rip Pentagon leaders’ refusal to testify on protests

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“Apparently, the Trump Administration believes they don’t have any obligation to clarify their actions to Congress or respect our constitutional system of checks and balances,” the lawmakers mentioned.

A briefing set for Friday with Military Secretary Ryan McCarthy was additionally canceled. The Democrats demanded info on the Pentagon’s response to the protests by Monday and referred to as for Esper and Milley to testify “shortly thereafter.”

“As we head right into a weekend with protests deliberate throughout the nation, this briefing to Members of Congress was vitally vital to debate the Division’s plan to make sure the security of People exercising their proper to protest and repair members working to maintain the peace,” the lawmakers mentioned.

A Pentagon spokesperson didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Democratic lawmakers, together with former army and civilian protection officers, have criticized Esper and Milley for his or her actions — together with accompanying Trump to a photograph op close to the White Home after police used chemical substances to clear Lafayette Sq. of protesters.

The panel additionally plans to obtain testimony from former protection officers on the usage of the army domestically.

The panel’s prime Republican, Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, doesn’t endorse Smith’s effort to get Pentagon brass on the file.

Thornberry mentioned this week {that a} listening to on the Riot Act could be acceptable if Trump invokes the legislation, however argued that the army’s function within the protests must be weighed alongside the handful of different unanticipated missions, together with responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As Rating Member Thornberry has mentioned, our army is presently enterprise quite a lot of missions that aren’t a part of their regular duties,” Armed Providers Republican spokesperson Claude Chafin mentioned in a press release. “These embrace COVID-19 response, managing Protection Manufacturing Act contracts, and Nationwide Guard assist to civil authorities, and it’s important that the Committee hear from the Division to know how these missions are affecting DOD’s sources and priorities.

“The timing of that trade and the witnesses or briefers should, as all the time, be coordinated with the Division,” Chafin mentioned.

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