More federal agents deployed to protests
DHS to send 150 federal agents to Chicago
The department of homeland security reportedly intends to send 150 federal agents to Chicago, a development that will likely intensify activists’ concerns about Trump attempting to circumvent local Democratic leaders to crack down on recent protests against racism and police brutality.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to Chicago this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities.
The Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, according to sources familiar with the matter, though a specific plan on what the agents will be doing had not been made public.
Activists in Portland, Oregon, have expressed severe alarm over reports of federal agents using unmarked vehicles to detain peaceful protesters, and they have warned the administration may attempt to expand the strategy to other cities.
Federal agents sent to confront protesters in Portland have “done a fantastic job” and could be deployed to other cities, Donald Trump said on Monday. The mayor of Portland has called for Trump to withdraw the federal agents, and the Oregon attorney general has filed a lawsuit seeking the same end. The governor and the state’s two senators, all Democrats, have also complained.
Speaking in the Oval Office, the president brushed aside claims the officers are depriving people of their constitutional rights, and concerns such deployments could herald an attempt by Trump to rule without Congress.
The largest city in Oregon has seen more than 50 nights of protest over police brutality and systemic racism, arising from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May.
Confrontations between law enforcement and protesters in Portland have led to fires and the use of teargas. Speaking to the Guardian and other outlets, protesters have reported violence by police and instances of people being seized by unidentified officers and held without due process.
Democrats in the US House of Representatives have demanded investigations, decrying “the use of federal law enforcement agencies by the attorney general and the acting secretary of homeland security to suppress first amendment-protected activities in Washington DC, Portland and other communities across the United States”.
In June, the Trump administration used federal officers against protesters in the capital, some of whom were forcibly dispersed so Trump could stage a photo op at a church. National guard troops were also used, and active duty army units moved closer to the city.
In Portland, local media has stressed that the protests are not paralysing the city and are confined to a small area, and that much of life continues as normally as possible under the coronavirus pandemic.
Nonetheless, at the White House Trump was asked if he would consider sending troops. It depended on the definition of troops, he said, adding: “We are sending law enforcement.”
Trump seemed to refer to such plans in a controversial Fox News Sunday interview. Talking about healthcare, the president said he would soon issue a plan “that the supreme court decision on Daca [regarding immigration enforcement and which went against the administration] gave me the right to do”.
It has been widely reported that the White House has been influenced by John Yoo, a former government lawyer who justified the use of torture by the George W Bush administration. Yoo argues the Daca ruling, which upheld Barack Obama’s executive order, shows Trump how to bypass Congress.
Many fear Trump, seeking to foreground law and order in an election in which he trails Joe Biden in most polls, will attempt to use federal agents against protesters and in cities in which gun violence has spiked.
On Monday, it was reported that agents were set to be sent to cities including Chicago. In the Oval Office, the president complained about cities including Chicago and his native New York.
“The police are afraid to do anything,” he said, though Portland police have reported some federal agents acting “under their own supervision and direction”, many while dressed in camouflage fatigues that make them look like regular troops.
Trump continued: “We’re not going to let New York and Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and all of these, Oakland in California is a mess, we’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.
“Nobody will have done what I’m doing in the next four weeks,” Trump told Fox News Sunday.
“We can’t let this happen in the cities. I’m going to do something, that I can tell you. We’re going to have more federal law enforcement … In Portland they’ve done a fantastic job, they’ve been there three days [and] have done a fantastic job.”
Describing actions against protesters which observers and officials have described as blatantly unconstitutional, Trump said: “No problem. They grab them, a lot of people in jail.
“These are leaders. These people are anarchists, they’re not protesters … These are people that hate our country and we’re not going to let it go forward.”
Claiming lawmakers in Oregon were “maybe even physically afraid” of the protesters, he added: “It’s worse than Afghanistan.”
Trump has sought to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan and other actual war zones.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.
The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.
Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.
The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.