Trump has been undermining our institutions and the rule of law since the start of his 2016 campaign, but his sending unidentified federal officers into Lafayette Square, into Portland, and into other cities represents his greatest threat to our democracy yet.
It is already clear that this police force is operating outside the norms under which other law enforcement agencies operate. Individuals on this force do not wear nametags, badge numbers, or even an indication of what agency they represent. They are driving around in unmarked vans, forcing individuals into those vans, and then releasing them later. This police force is not releasing arrest records, and there is no evidence that it has charged a single person with a crime. Almost everything we know about this police force is based on observations of reporters and those abducted by this force.
Today this police force appears to be focused on intimidating, abducting, assaulting, and teargassing protesters. What is next? Trump has articulated racist views against various minority groups. Will this police force start targeting members of those minority groups? Will it stop releasing its abductees after determining that it lacks probable cause?
We know Trump will cheat in an attempt to win the 2020 election. He has already said that he might not accept the results. Will Trump deploy his secret police force to polling locations or to post offices in swing states?
While the use of this police force has received national news coverage, I fear that this issue is not getting the urgent attention it demands. This secret police force needs to be stopped.