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Detention center in Donna, Tex. in 2017. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Active-duty troops are monitoring migrants from inside a Border Patrol holding facility in Donna, Texas, to perform welfare or "wellness" checks, NBC reports.

Why it matters: According to a congressman and a former defense official interviewed by NBC, these stationed troops are potentially in danger of violating the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military in civilian law enforcement.

What's happening: 4 defense officials — 2 current and 2 former — told NBC that the troops are stationed in Donna to perform wellness checks requested by Homeland Security last year. According to those officials, troops began those welfare checks earlier this summer.

  • These checks are reportedly intended to identify migrants' responsiveness and check for "signs of illness, any signs of violence, and signs of suspicious behavior," per NBC.
  • "The checks started with troops walking through the facility every 15 minutes, but troops now stand above the migrants and monitor them constantly," NBC reports.

What they're saying: Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) told NBC that having active duty troops supervise detained migrants is "teetering on the edge of the posse comitatus law."

  • A former defense official told NBC that if a service member responds to a fight, they'd play a different role than what is legally permitted under the Posse Comitatus Act, adding, "They should be way behind the fence of the border to help CBP."
  • John Cornelio, a spokesperson for the U.S. military's Northern Command, told NBC that, "In the event of a medical emergency or other reportable event, our military personnel immediately notify CBP personnel on-site who respond to the incident or event in question."

Go deeper: Trump administration sends 2,100 more troops to southern border

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.