The Justice Department told US Marshals to prepare to protect national monuments around the country, The Washington Post reports.
Marshals Service Assistant Director Andrew Smith wrote in an email that the agency “has been asked to immediately prepare to provide federal law enforcement support to protect national monuments (throughout the country).”
The subject line said that it was an “Attorney General Assignment,” suggesting it came from Bill Barr.
“This is a challenging assignment due to the breadth of possible targets for criminal activity,” Smith wrote.
The email said that Marshals should be ready as soon as Thursday.
Move comes after Trump’s threat:
The move comes after protesters tried to knock over a statue of former President Andrew Jackson near the White House in Lafayette Park.
Trump claimed on Twitter that he “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent.”
Army activates troops to protect monuments:
The Defense Department also activated 400 unarmed members of the Washington DC National Guard to “prevent any defacing or destruction” of monuments.
The decision came after the Park Police said they needed support to handle the attempts to vandalize statues.
“We’re dealing with extremists,” Sgt. Eduardo Delgado said.