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Former Washington Journalist
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A top House Democrat who has a long history of investigating Donald Trump called out the Trump’s use of unidentified paramilitary federal agents as nothing more than a political stunt.
The Trump administration has sent unidentified Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents into the streets in racial justice protests in Portland Ore., where they have been snatching protesters off the street into unidentified vans.
The DHS activity in Portland has resulted in significant blowback by officials in Portland, the state of Oregon and elsewhere who have not asked for such assistance.
The protests in Portland are part of the same Black Lives Matter movement which has been stirring nationally since the May 25 murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis Minn.
Protesters have been seriously injured in many instances.
“Well, look, there are certainly places in the country that could use additional help when those local officials want it, and provided that that help is directed in ways that are useful, if that is directed, for example, against gun running operations or straw purchasers or any number of other traditional purposes for which local law enforcement works with federal law enforcement,” said Rep Adam Schiff (D-Calif), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “But that’s not what’s going on here, and that’s not the president’s objective. The objective here is to have a campaign issue. And if it inflames tensions to send troops where they’re not wanted, the president is more than willing to do it.
“And by ‘troops’ I’m at any time these fatigue-wearing DHS security personnel or people from the Border Patrol. What are they doing in Portland? The fact that you have to go to such extraordinary lengths to justify, under this provision or that, why these border agents can be used, shows you what an abuse of the agency it is,” added Schiff, who oversaw the prosecution of Trump’s impeachment trial earlier this year. “So it’s not only going to inflame matters, but it also is undermining these agencies because ultimately, the public is not going to respect what they’re doing, they’re not going to trust these agencies. And when they really are needed, in natural disasters, when they’re needed in terms of their — their real job responsibilities, they’re not going to enjoy the confidence of the American people. I’m glad the inspector generals will be investigating, they really need to.”
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