On Friday, President Trump announced that he signed an executive order to protect American monuments, statues, and memorials and threatened those who try to deface and/or pull them down with “long time prison.”

“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” Trump tweeted. “Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”

United States Attorney General William Barr announced that the Department of Justice is leading over 500 investigations into the destruction caused by riots across the country, according to The Federalist. He explained the reason for opening the investigations on Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s podcast “The Verdict.”

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“We’ve had scores of indictments so far for such things as arson, destruction of federal property,” Barr said. “We have right now about 500 investigations underway, so it’s picking up pace. We are committed to holding accountable the people who engaged in this.”

Barr blamed the lack of response from other levels of government to the reason for the increase in investigations. Many of the investigations will begin with prosecutions based on the videos of rioters defacing and attempting to tear down the President Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. Barr, however, also explained that prevention is a big focus in the DOJ’s handling of these investigations.

National GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel touted President Trump and the administration actions to hold “violent rioters accountable for their disgraceful actions.”

In a statement released in May, AG Barr expressed his concern with the riots and vowed to address them. “It is time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it,” he said. “The continued violence and destruction of property endangers the lives and livelihoods of others, and interferes with the rights of peaceful protestors, as well as all other citizens.”

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