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.”