Trump's defense secretary refuses to rule out manning the polls with active duty troops
Mark Esper speaks to reporters at the Pentagon (MSNBC/screen grab)

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported" that Defense Secretary Mark Esper refused to explicitly rule out sending active troops to guard the polls in U.S. cities.

"Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper declined to rule out sending active-duty military personnel to the polls on Election Day, amid an intensifying debate about the military’s role if a disputed election led to civil unrest," said the report. "Mr. Esper, asked by members of Congress to commit to refusing to send troops to the polls and to commit to facilitating a peaceful transition of power, responded to both queries with the same brief answer: 'The U.S. military has acted, and will continue to act, in accordance with the Constitution and the law.'"

"Mr. Esper’s comments, contained in written answers released Tuesday by two Democratic congresswomen, Representatives Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, come as President Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses," continued the report. "Senior leaders at the Pentagon are privately discussing what to do if Mr. Trump invokes the Insurrection Act and tries to send troops into the streets, as he has threatened to do during protests against police brutality."