US marshals have been ordered to prep to protect the nation's monuments as part of a new effort by the Trump administration, also said to involve an upcoming executive order. In an email with the subject line "Attorney General Assignment," Marshals Service Assistant Director Andrew C. Smith wrote that the agency had been "asked to immediately prepare to provide federal law enforcement support to protect national monuments (throughout the country)." Per the Washington Post, Smith wrote that the Marshals Incident Management Team would establish a joint operations center in Springfield, Va., and that all deputies in the Special Operations Group would be prepared to respond as early as Thursday. He also requested help from other districts and divisions until July 8, as there's concern about monuments being targeted around July 4.
The federal law enforcement agents "typically work providing security for courthouses, transporting prisoners, apprehending fugitives, and protecting witnesses," so this is an "unusual" assignment, per the Post. US Park Police had blocked protesters from toppling a statue of Andrew Jackson, who oversaw the deaths and relocations of thousands of Native Americans, near the White House on Monday before President Trump tweeted that he'd "authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the US." He also threatened "up to 10 years in prison." On Wednesday, Trump said he would sign "a very strong executive order … before the end of the week," per CNN, which reports all this "mimics his efforts earlier this month to [crack down] on protests." (Read more US Marshals Service stories.)