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Attorney General Bill Barr speaks during an Aug. 4 event at the White House. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr announced at a Kansas City, Mo., news conference Wednesday almost 1,500 people have been arrested since federal law enforcement's "Operation Legend" started in U.S. cities some six weeks ago.

Why it matters: The deployment began in Kansas City in July after President Trump blamed violence spikes across the U.S. on Black Lives Matter protesters' efforts to "dismantle and dissolve" local law enforcement. It has since expanded to eight U.S. cities Democrats have accused Trump of targeting Democratic-run cities as part of his "law and order" messaging strategy.

"Rather than demonizing or defunding police, we are supporting and strengthening our law enforcement partners at the state and local level."
— Barr

Details: Barr said more than 200 of those arrested in Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis had been charged with federal crimes.

  • "That includes more than 100 charges for federal gun crimes," he said in a statement
  • "Many of those arrests are for violent state crimes, including more than 90 homicides ... That’s more than 90 suspected killers who might still be on the streets without Operation Legend, and in many cities the operation is just getting started."
  • Barr said at the news conference there had been a "lot of confusion in the media" tying the operation to federal agents in cities like Seattle and Portland, adding: "One is dealing with civil unrest, rioting, and the other is the classical traditional work that law enforcement does."

Of note: The operation has seen hundreds of federal agents sent to Kansas City to help quell violence that erupted after the shooting death of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, for whom Operation Legend is named.

  • His mother thanked Kansas City Police investigators during the news conference for arresting a suspect last week over her son's killing.

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Cities getting desperate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Dire budget problems in cities from coast to coast mean that furloughs and layoffs of essential workers could ring in the new year. So President-elect Joe Biden will face instant, high-stakes calls for relief. 

Why it matters: Suffering municipalities say there's no way they can tackle COVID-19 and all their other problems without direct and immediate aid.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Updated 24 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."