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Mayors urge Congress to ban militarized federal agents in cities amid reports more may arrive

Democratic mayors in Portland, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Kansas City and Albuquerque urged congressional leaders in a letter Monday to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarized federal agents to cities against such moves.

Driving the news: The Trump administration is looking at deploying more federal agents to Portland, Ore., following unrest during protests over the weekend, according to multiple reports.


  • Federal agents "repeatedly fired what appeared to be tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls at protesters outside the federal courthouse in downtown in Portland" early Monday after some activists "shot fireworks" and climbed a fence surrounding the building, AP reports.
  • Democratic mayors in Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, Kansas City, Mo. and Washington, D.C., wrote a letter to congressional leaders and the Trump administration last week that accused federal agents of escalating violence against civilians.

What they're saying: In their letter, the mayors criticize the Trump administration for "authorizing the deployment of riot-gear clad forces" to cities including Washington, D.C., Portland, Seattle without local authorities' consent.

  • "This administration's egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen," they add.

The other side: Axios has contacted the Trump administration for comment. President Trump tweeted Monday, "Homeland Security or Federal Forces are little involved in Seattle, other than we have a large standby team in case of emergency. The media is calling that one wrong also. In Portland, we are protecting Federal property, including the Courthouse, which wouldn't last a day!"

  • Attorney General Bill Barr will address the issue of federal agents in cities in opening remarks to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, where he will refer to protesters as "rioters."
"As elected officials of the federal government, every Member of this Committee — regardless of your political views or your feelings about the Trump Administration— should condemn violence against federal officers and destruction of federal property. So should state and local leaders who have a responsibility to keep their communities safe. To tacitly condone destruction and anarchy is to abandon the basic rule-of-law principles that should unite us even in a politically divisive time."
Excerpt from Barr's opening remarks

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