An internal investigation into the forcible clearing of racial justice demonstrators in Washington, DC, was not influenced by former President Donald Trump’s plans to be photographed outside a church while holding a Bible.

The report released on Wednesday by the Interior Department’s inspector general concludes that the protesters were cleared by US Park Police (USPP) last June 1 so that a contractor begins the installation of new fencing.

Trump had been widely criticised for what appeared to be the forceful clearing of the demonstrators with pepper pellets and flash-bangs 30 minutes before he took the photo in front of St John’s Church, near the White House.

Former President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White

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