CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Reports Secret Service Forced Press Corps to Evacuate White House Amid Nearby Protests
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reported on Monday night that the Secret Service forced the press corps to evacuate the White House and grounds as protestors in nearby Lafayette Park skirmished with police as they attempted to tear down a statue of President Andrew Jackson.
Breaking into his normal programming, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper brought in Collins, who explained what said was an unprecedented security step to demand the media exit the protected White House compound.
“The Secret Service asked us to leave. I don’t think that’s ever happened since I’ve been inside the White House,” Collins noted. “Often they say you can’t go outside, the White House is on lockdown. Press was instructed to actually leave the White House grounds and out here, you can see there is a swarm of protesters out in front of the White House. There are reports that they were trying to take down the statute of Andrew Jackson that is in the square right in front of the White House and as we were walking back through here, we saw several protesters who said they had fired some substance at them. They aren’t sure if it was tear gas, pepper spray.”
Standing on a corner of 16th Street, Collins could be seen amidst numerous protesters roaming around and the White House in the background, a few hundred yards away.
“They cleared the protesters,” Collins went on. “The police moved this barrier to where we are right now. Earlier today this is not where the barrier was. There are several protesters standing around and police officers forming a bit of a hapazard line in front of the White House as we wait to figure out more details about what is going on but clearly, they believe there was some kind of threat happening and that’s why they had reporters leave the White House in that very unusual move, Anderson.”
In late May, President Donald Trump was rushed to the White House’s secure, underground bunker when protestors in Lafayette Park began to clash with police and vandalize park equipment. Days later, the White House reportedly ordered the park cleared so Trump could walk to the nearby St. John’s Church for an infamous photo op with someone else’s Bible.
“Of course, this is the very spot I’m standing where they moved those protesters not that long ago where they forcefully cleared them out of the way when the president made his walk over here to St. John’s Church next to me,” Collins pointed out. “We’re still learning a little more about what exactly is going on, what transpired.”
“It’s interesting that the White House, the Secret Service chose to ask reporters to leave,” Cooper observed, moments later. “It doesn’t seem like at this stage there’s an immediate threat on the White House itself.”
“No, and that’s what is so unusual,” Collins emphasized. “I’m telling you, I’ve been reporting on this White House since the day Donald Trump was inaugurated and we’ve never been asked to physically leave the White House. They will take us off of the front lawn. They will move us slightly indoors, keep us indoors if they think there is a security threat but they had us leave the White House grounds tonight. It’s not clear why the Secret Service made that decision. We’re clear far back from the White House, probably 200 yards back, as we try to figure out why the Secret Service made that decision to clear reporters out.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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