President Trump issued a memorandum on Wednesday titled "Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities."
Why it matters: The review threatens to withdraw federal funding for any "anarchist" jurisdiction" it finds "disempowers or defunds police departments." The memo specifically mentions the Democratic-controlled cities of Portland, Oregon; Washington, Seattle, and New York.
Of note: The memo directs Attorney General Bill Barr, "in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of OMB," to publish a list on the Justice Department's website within 14 days that identifies state and local jurisdictions that "permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions)."
Yes, but: Constitutional experts are questioning the legality of the action, including Harvard University law professor Laurence Tribe, who tweeted in response to the announcement: "Spoiler Alert: No such presidential power exists."
- "The president obviously has no power to pick and choose which cities to cut off from congressionally appropriated funding," said Tribe, co-author of the book "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment, to the Guardian.
What they're saying: Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted: "As much as Donald Trump wants New York City to drop dead, we will never let this stand. This has nothing to do with 'law and order.' This is a racist campaign stunt out of the Oval Office to attack millions of people of color."
- The Trump administration did not immediately return a request for comment from Axios on the legality of the action.