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Chris Van Hollen Files Bill To Block Federal Agents In Baltimore Following President Trump's Comments

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- After President Donald Trump threatened to send federal agents to several U.S. cities, including Baltimore, local leaders are trying to pass laws to prevent those measures.

"I'm gonna do something, that I can tell you. Because we are not going to let New York, and Chicago, and Philadelphia, and Detroit, and Baltimore, and all of these; Oakland is a mess, we're not gonna let this happen in our country," President Trump said.

This comes after the president sent federal law enforcement to Portland, Oregon, following two months of protests.

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen filed a bill Monday evening to block federal agents from coming into cities like Baltimore.

Trump Says He Wants More Federal Law Enforcement In Baltimore, Other US Cities 'Run By Liberal Democrats'

"This would make it absolutely clear, the President of the United States does not have the authority to send secret federal police into a city without the consent of the mayor of a city or the governor of a state," Van Hollen said. "If the president wants to deploy federal agents to protect federal property in those areas, they can do that, but what happened in Portland goes way beyond that."

Officials in Portland said protesters have set fire outside the federal courthouse and fencing was smashed. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said having federal law enforcement in the city with their batons and rubber bullets are making matters worse.

University of Baltimore professor and criminologist Jeffrey Ian Ross said this action would have the same outcome here.

"When there are protests it tends to exacerbate things and makes people nervous and it can lead to increased violence," he said.

Governor Larry Hogan's office told WJZ they have not been contacted by the president about federal forces.

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Ross said it should be up to the governor of a state, a city's mayor or police commissioner to ask for help. Mutual aid from surrounding areas are usually the next steps before federal forces are ever asked to step in. Ross called iy a political stunt.

"[President Trump] is trying to get the support of his base and to convince the American public our cities are out of control, and if it wasn't for his leadership, they would fall into the abyss," Dr. Ross said.

Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said agents in Portland were sent to protect property.

"We're accomplishing our mission to protect the federal facilities," he said.

Van Hollen said the bill could be in front of Senator Mitch McConnell for a vote as early as Tuesday. The bill would make it illegal for secret federal law enforcement to start policing Baltimore.

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