Donald Trump has defended his job as the country’s top federal law enforcement officer and defended the use of a military-style SWAT team to arrest a suspected child sex abuser in California in the most high-profile case of its kind since the Watergate scandal.
The Trump administration has used a military SWAT team, mounted on horses and using high-powered weaponry, to arrest Joshua Boyle, who had been arrested by federal agents for child sex abuse in January 2016, on a warrant related to his alleged crimes.
Trump has insisted the police used “every legal and constitutional tool available” to bring Boyle to justice.
But the case has provoked a fierce political backlash from Republicans, who say the tactic of using the SWAT team is not legal and has led to unnecessary violence.
“The American people deserve the facts and a full accounting of what happened in this case,” said Republican Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas.
“What the Trump administration is doing is the wrong thing.
It’s wrong for the Trump team to have used military tactics to get to Boyle and to then turn around and arrest him without any explanation or justification,” Gohmedt added.
The federal judge in Boyle’s case is hearing arguments on whether to grant his request to suppress the search warrant, which was served in California on Saturday.
Boyle, the son of a prominent local Republican, is charged with possessing child pornography and is also accused of sexually abusing children.
Boyle is charged as an adult, and he faces life in prison if convicted.
The warrant says the federal agents and police “reasonably believed” Boyle was engaged in child sex exploitation and that he had been “using” his father’s position as a public official.
Boyle is charged in federal court with sexually assaulting three minors between 2012 and 2015.
Bylawyers for the federal government argued in court papers that Boyle was in violation of his constitutional rights to due process and that the government was justified in using military tactics in its “routine and lawful” use of SWAT teams and armed vehicles to arrest him.
The suit claims that the tactic is “not authorized by the United States Constitution” and has no place in American policing.
A spokesperson for Boyle did not immediately respond to requests for comment.