Homeland Security agencies are preparing for civil unrest as tensions climb leading into the last week of the presidential election.
“We have teams ready to go as needed … we don’t have any specific intelligence that suggests any particular threat of violence,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the Homeland Security deputy secretary.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is putting personnel on standby through next week’s election, according to a senior ICE official who spoke with CNN. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been regularly training personnel — an extension of the deployments this summer, an agency official said.
CNN previously reported that since January, more than 60 meetings have taken place in an effort to prepare various agencies for all likely scenarios, including large-scale protests, according to a senior administration official, and nearly 100 meetings in the past year, two other law enforcement officials said. Meetings have included the White House National Security Council, the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the various intelligence agencies and the military, the official said. This level of contingency planning is standard practice ahead of a national election, the official said.
If Trump secures a landslide reelection on Nov. 3, federal and city officials told CNN that large-scale demonstrations are expected in major Democratic-majority cities across the country, especially in New York City and Washington, DC. Should Biden win outright, those same officials do not expect the same large-scale protests but are preparing for them nonetheless. Agencies are also preparing for the possibility that there is no clear winner come November 4.
Former CIA intelligence officer David Priess is also the author of the upcoming book “How To Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives,” offered, “No matter what happens, President Trump is the President until January 20. He continues to exercise the full powers and duties of the office including receiving intel briefings and having access to any intel he wants and the power to run the executive branch. But law enforcement is also required to defend the Constitution, and that requires them to uphold the results of the election.”
Republican pollster: Trump’s attitude over the next six weeks may hurt GOP chances of keeping Senate
A coalition of U.S. government security agencies has taken the step to defend the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, calling it “the most secure in American history.” Even so, President Donald J. Trump, the man on the losing ticket, has continued denying the results. Now, experts warn that if Trump doesn't walk away from the fight and offer a peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration, it could hurt GOP chances to retain the U.S. Senate.
Conservative columnist accuses Republicans of turning their voters into a mob of anti-democracy fascists
Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin attacked Republican officials who have spent the past decade turning their most ardent supporters into a kind of anti-democracy mob.
Writing her column on Monday, Rubin cited the CNN interviews with Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) and John Bolton as being one of a handful of Republicans willing to speak out against the tyranny that President Donald Trump is being allowed to continue.
“State election officials and judges throughout the country are serving as protectors of our democracy at a time when, frankly, Republican leaders in Washington, D.C., are failing miserably at the job, as are administration officials who have proven willing to degrade themselves, to serve the president’s brittle spirit instead of the Constitution and the American people," Rubin cited CNN's Jake Tapper from "State of the Union" this Sunday.
WATCH: Melania Trump goes maskless as she participates in White House Christmas tree delivery
First Lady Melania Trump declined to wear a face mask as she was receiving this year's White House Christmas tree.
In White House video released on Monday, the first lady can be seen without a mask while accepting delivery of the tree. However, masks were worn by everyone else seen in the video.
The White House has been criticized for allowing COVID-19 to spread at events where attendees are not required to wear masks. At least two "super spreader" events have already taken place at the White House.
The First Lady's Office has said that Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations are expected to take place with smaller crowds.