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Federal law enforcement officers deploy tear gas in Portland. Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump has promised to send federal law enforcement agents to Democratic-led cities around the country, moving his strategy beyond Portland, Oregon, and staking his re-election hopes on a law-and-order message even as the coronavirus pandemic surges nationwide.

Why it matters: These liberal cities now find themselves in the topsy-turvy position of having to resist federal government action — threatening recourse via both the courts and law enforcement.

In Portland, the testing ground for the Trump administration's tactics, both state and local officials have taken action. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sought a temporary restraining order in court today to force federal law enforcement agencies to immediately stop their tactics, per the AP.

  • And the city's police commissioner is set to introduce a resolution that would require its officers to stop cooperating with the feds, per OPB.

In Chicago, which will see the next deployment of federal agents, Mayor Lori Lightfoot struck a more conciliatory tone and said the city would do its best to work "collaboratively," per the Chicago Tribune.

  • But she warned: "I don’t put anything past this administration. ... If we need to stop them and use the courts to do so, we are ready to do that."

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio similarly threatened to take Trump to court if federal law enforcement was deployed in the city, Reuters reports.

In Philadelphia, District Attorney Larry Krasner compared the tactics in Portland to "fascism" and vowed to take harsh action, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • "Anyone, including federal law enforcement, who unlawfully assaults and kidnaps people will face criminal charges from my office."

Go deeper ... DHS chief defends federal agents in Portland: "We will not retreat"

Go deeper

Updated Oct 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.

The Democrats' debt dilemma

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats find themselves in a political and potentially catastrophic economic quagmire as Republicans stand firm on denying them any help in raising the federal debt ceiling.

Why it matters: The Democrats are technically right — the debt comes, in part, from past spending by President Trump and his predecessors, not only President Biden's new big-ticket programs. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is saddling them with the public relations challenge of making that distinction during next year's crucial midterms.