The former Assistant Director of the FBI warned the DHS agents that they'd better have their professional liability insurance paid up, because they have no legal basis for their actions.
July 22, 2020

Frank Figliuzzi joined Nicolle Wallace to discuss the exponentially increasing authoritarianism that is Donald Trump's administration. Talking about the clearing of Lafayette Square as one of the most blatant and sharp turning points in this misson creep, Wallace noted that all Trump has learned is to "replace active duty military with border patrol agents."

Figliuzzi agreed, and expressed disgust and revulsion at what he called "this really bad, Hollywood, terrible movie set" Trump is bringing "to cities near you." Trump's obviously hoping the electorate will swoon at his illegal "law and order" cosplay. But Figliuzzi then he turned his attention to the DHS agents carrying out the orders.

FIGLIUZZI: As Tom Friedman points out, this is really a page right out of the textbook for tyrants. Historically, what dictators and authoritarian regimes do when their people turn against them, is to pit their own people against each other. And that's what he wants to see happen. Make no mistake about it. Reports, I heard a report this morning on Fox News of a Trump surrogate claiming that the entire city of Portland has been decimated. That's not true. We heard similar things about Seattle. And that kind of autonomous zone, that they had taken the whole city away, when really it was five or six blocks. The facts matter.

The other thing that matters, though, is I want to make an appeal to the federal agents that are on the street of Portland and about to deploy to other cities. I was a federal agent for 25 years. When I led FBI offices, one of the things I had to make certain of that I wasn't asking agents to do something that would put them in legal jeopardy, and take them outside the scope of their employment. I'm here to appeal to those DHS agents today, and say there will one day be a legal reckoning for what you are being asked to do. And you are compelled to stand by the rule of law and the constitution. You are operating outside the scope of your employment when you take people off the street, nowhere near federal buildings, when you don't tell them they're under arrest, when you don't tell them your name and your agency, and when you release them, because you know you have no probable cause to arrest them. There will be a reckoning. You need to get your professional liability insurance paid up.

Those are some pretty grim words, and a serious warning from a man who knows how federal agents should be behaving, and what the boundaries of the law are. And how I hope he is right that a reckoning is coming, because they deserve one.

Ed. Note: Here is where we can start to bring that reckoning:

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