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Trump expands use of federal agents as mayors push back

President Trump announced Wednesday that he is sending more than 100 federal agents to Chicago to curb violence in the city. The initiative comes as part of a new anti-crime program called "Operation Legend."

"This rampage of violence shocks the conscience of our nation and we will not stand by and watch it happen," Mr. Trump said at a news conference Wednesday.

The DOJ said in a press release that the city is "experiencing a significant increase in violent crime, with homicides currently up 51 percent over 2019." On Tuesday night, 15 people were wounded in a shooting in the city's South Side.

"The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens," Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. "Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Chicago and Albuquerque to protect the residents of those cities from senseless acts of deadly violence by targeting those involved in gang activity and those who use guns to commit violent crime."

The Department of Justice said that over 100 federal investigators from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be sent to the city. At least 100 agents from the Department of Homeland Security that are already stationed in the city will also be committed to the operation.

But Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she won't let federal troops terrorize her city. "That's what we call tyranny, and dictatorship, and we are not having it in Chicago," she said.

Feds Attempt To Intervene After Weeks Of Violent Protests In Portland
Federal officers highlight a protester with a green laser to make him an easier target for less-lethal rounds while dispersing a crowd of a few hundred people at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 21, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.  Nathan Howard / Getty Images

The move comes after more than 100 federal agents were sent to Portland, Oregon to quell unrest in the city. The agents have repeatedly tear gassed protesters, and officials at Oregon's federal, state and local level have called for the agents to leave.

The administration has also sent over 200 agents to Kansas City and 35 to Albuquerque — and it plans to send more in the weeks ahead.

Albuquerque's mayor spoke out against the decision on Wednesday night. 

"We always welcome partnerships in constitutional crime fighting that are in step with our community, but we won't sell out our city for a bait and switch excuse to send secret police to Albuquerque," Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement. "Operation Legend is not real crime fighting; it's politics standing in the way of police work and makes us less safe." 

Mr. Trump has been promoting himself as the "law and order" leader as part of his re-election push. He's accused presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden of planning to defund the police, which Biden disputes.

"I am opposed to defunding police. Matter of fact, I call for putting more money in," he said.   

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