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Law enforcement run towards protesters near Lafayette Park ahead of President Trump's trip to St. John's Church on June 1. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Secret Service on Saturday retracted its initial statement that no one in the agency used tear gas or pepper spray to forcibly clear peaceful protesters before President Trump's photo-op at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church last week.

The big picture: Backlash against the photo-op — and how it was made possible — was swift and widespread, with Republican senators, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ex-Secretary of Defense James Mattis denouncing the event.

The Secret Service's full statement:

"On June 5, the U.S. Secret Service released information stating that the agency had concluded that no agency personnel used tear gas or capsicum spray during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park on Monday, June 1, based on the records and information available at that time. Since that time, the agency has learned that one agency employee used capsicum spray (i.e., pepper spray) during that effort. Accordingly, the Secret Service is issuing the following correction to the record:
"After further review, the U.S. Secret Service has determined that an agency employee used pepper spray on June 1st, during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park. The employee utilized oleoresin capsicum spray, or pepper spray, in response to an assaultive individual."

Flashback: A U.S. Park Police spokesperson told Vox last week that it was a "mistake" to say that tear gas was not used to clear protesters from Lafayette Square.

Go deeper: Black Lives Matter sues Trump, Barr for forcibly clearing White House protesters

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.