House Leaders Want Investigation of Trump Administration's Use of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies in Portland

As many have warned in recent days, the presence of such officers amid protests in Portland and elsewhere could be a sign of dangerous things to come.


Image via Getty/Mason Trinca


House leaders are calling for an investigation into the Trump administration's troubling employment of federal law enforcement agencies against protesters in Portland and elsewhere.

In a letter to the inspectors general of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security reported by Associated Press on Sunday, top U.S. House leaders said they were "alarmed" and called the presence of such law enforcement agencies "a matter of utmost urgency." 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney are behind the letter calling for an investigation "into the use of federal law enforcement agencies by the Attorney General and the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security." As those House leaders have explained, the Trump administration’s tactics in Portland and other cities amount of a suppression of First Amendment-protected activities.

Ted Wheeler, mayor of Portland, has also condemned the "unconstitutional" presence of federal troops amid protests. In an interview with CNN over the weekend, Wheeler made it clear that he doesn’t want them there.

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"The president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect," Wheeler said. "What is happening here is we have dozens—if not hundreds—of federal troops descending upon our city. What they are doing is sharply escalating the situation. Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism. It's not helping the situation at all … We want them to leave."

On Monday, Trump expressed his desire to potentially ramp up federal law enforcement presence in multiple cities. Speaking from the Oval Office, Trump praised the results of such tactics being used in Portland.

"We're going to have more federal law enforcement—that, I can tell you," he said. "In Portland, they've done a fantastic job.  They've been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in very short period of time. No problem. They grab them; a lot of people in jail. They're leaders."

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