Attorney General William Barr jabbed back at the mayor of Washington, DC, in a letter Tuesday saying that the use of federal law enforcement and national guard troops in the nation’s capital was necessary because the unrest there had hit unprecedented and dangerous levels. 

“The television footage of these events — viewed by people across the Nation and around the world — conveyed the impression that the United States was on the brink of losing control of its capital city,” Barr wrote of the weekend of protests in DC that followed the death of George Floyd late last month. 

The missive was a response to a letter from Mayor Muriel Bowser sent on Friday to President Trump and other administration officials requesting the withdrawal of federal law enforcement and military personnel from the city. 

On Sunday, Trump said that he had ordered the National Guard to begin withdrawing from Washington after days of peaceful protests.

In the letter, Barr said that certain federal law enforcement agencies — including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons and some officials from the Department of Homeland Security — had been granted additional policing powers amid the protests, and defended the move to deploy the federal and military forces in DC as a “temporary response to an escalating security crisis.”

“Surely you understand that the President could not stand idly by when unrest at the seat of the federal government threatened the safety of federal law enforcement officers and the operations of the United States government,” Barr wrote.

“Let me assure you that the President shares your interest in returning to a situation where such additional forces are unnecessary to maintain law and order in the District,” he added. 7:32 p.m. ET, June 9, 2020

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