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President Trump today

Then-candidate Donald Trump announced in 2015 that if elected president, “One of the first things” he would do would be to sign an executive order to mandate the death penalty for convicted cop killers.

More than two years later, Trump hasn’t signed that executive order. But, he told a crowd of law enforcement officials he still believed cop killers should be put to death.

“We believe criminals who kill our police should get the death penalty. Bring it forth,” Trump said. He added that he has directed the Justice Department “to do everything in its power to defend the lives of American law enforcement.”

It’s not clear who “bring it forth” is directed at.

It’s a questionable legal policy: Nineteen states, as well as the District of Columbia, have outlawed the punishment. The death penalty is legal at the federal level and prosecutors can seek capital punishment in some murder cases, including ones involving the killings of state or local law enforcement officials, but it’s unclear how an executive action could be used to require this.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Diamond


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