The White House wanted to have 10,000 active duty troops on the streets of Washington and other cities earlier this week to quell protesters, but Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint of Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley pushed back at the idea, according to a senior defense official.
Epser did move approximately 1,600 active duty troops to the Washington region to respond if needed, but the 5,000 National Guard troops never needed assistance. Those active troops began to leave Thursday night.
A second defense official said Milley strongly felt the threshold informally described as dire circumstances for calling in active duty troops could not be met, opening the door to whether such a potential presidential order would be legal.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
CBS first reported that the White House wanted 10,000 troops.