The top prosecutors of two major American cities issued a preemptive warning to both Donald Trump and federal agents Friday, pledging in an op-ed to prosecute Trump’s troops if they violate the law in their cities.
State attorney for Baltimore City Marilyn Mosby and Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner called the images of fatigue-clad federal agents attacking and snatching peaceful protesters off Portland streets "Orwellian" and said they were particularly concerned by Donald Trump's talk of deploying his unmarked militia to their cities.
"We were elected to prosecute violations of the law in these cities," wrote Mosby and Krasner. "We strongly believe that the actions in Oregon are illegal. Should the president proceed with his plan in our cities, his agents will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
The two prosecutors said the Portland scenes were "reminiscent of 1930s dictatorships" and promised they would neither dither nor wait for a lawsuit to be filed against the administration. "Should Trump send federal agents who engage in the same illegal vigilante activities, unlawfully assaulting and kidnapping people, they will face criminal charges from our offices," they wrote, adding that their authority under 28 U.S. Code § 1442 was "clear."
While federal officials can remove such charges to federal court in some cases, Mosby and Krasner said nothing prohibited local prosecution of their crimes.
The two prosecutors even gamed out the politics of charging now and potentially prosecuting after the election. Following an arrest, they noted, they could hold off on proceeding until after the November election, giving them time to investigate, gather evidence, and subpoena individuals. And following the election, Mosby and Krasner conjectured that cooperation from federal authorities could revert to "pre-Trump norms." Furthermore, since the crimes would be prosecuted under state law, Trump wouldn't have pardon power.
"All of this is to say, we will not stand idly by while the president illegally turns loose paramilitary forces to commit criminal acts and violate the constitutional rights of innocent Americans for the purpose of energizing his base and improving his poll numbers," they wrote.
Amen. Portland protesters have begun turning out in the thousands to shine a light on the abuses of Trump's goons. Every chief prosecutor in the nation should stand at the ready and use their legal authorities to stop these abuses in their jurisdictions.