President Trump is threatening to send more federal officers onto the streets of U.S. cities as outrage mounts over their violent treatment of protesters in Portland, Oregon.
President Donald Trump: “We’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore and all of these — Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats. … We’re going to have more federal law enforcement. That, I can tell you. In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time. No problem. They grab 'em, a lot of people in jail. They're leaders. These are anarchists. These are not protesters.”
In Portland, unidentified federal officers have beaten protesters and snatched activists into unmarked vans. State and local leaders, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon’s two Democratic senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, have called for the officers to be removed from the city’s streets.
The mayors of Portland, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and Washington, D.C., sent a letter Monday to Attorney General William Barr and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, writing, “Unilaterally deploying these paramilitary-type forces into our cities is wholly inconsistent with our system of democracy and our most basic values.”
And Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Eleanor Holmes Norton are introducing a bill this week that would require federal law enforcement officers to display their identifying information while on duty. We’ll have more on the situation in Portland after headlines.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports Trump has been consulting with former George W. Bush Justice Department attorney John Yoo about the president’s authority to bypass federal laws through executive orders. John Yoo, widely known as Bush’s “torture lawyer,” wrote the legal memo that justified waterboarding.