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Federal officers fire tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators in Portland, Ore., on July 21. Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Thursday his office will launch an investigation into federal agents' "use of force" in Portland and the clearing of peaceful protestors in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., including the use of chemical agents.

Why it matters: Demonstrations in Portland against police use of force have continued in the city for more than 50 days. President Trump has threatened to send federal law enforcement into other cities run by Democrats.

The big picture: House Democrats asked the DOJ's Office of Inspector General to investigate the response of federal law enforcement personnel to ongoing protests in cities across the U.S.

What they're saying: "If circumstances warrant, OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of review," Horowitz said in a letter sent Thursday to House Democratic leadership.

  • "The review will include examining the training and instruction that was provided to the DOJ law enforcement personnel; compliance with applicable identification requirements, rules of engagement, and legal authorities; and adherence to DOJ policies regarding the use of less-lethal munitions, chemical agents, and other use of force."

Go deeper: Rand Paul denounces use of federal force in Portland

Go deeper

Oct 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Omar criticizes fellow House Democrats on police brutality, despite sweeping reform bill

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told "Axios on HBO" that House Democrats' failure to pass a resolution condemning police brutality that she co-sponsored earlier this year is an indication of her colleagues' inability to meet the moment following the death of George Floyd.

Yes, but: Every House Democrat did vote in June to pass legislation that would have constituted the most drastic overhaul of federal policing laws in decades.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office.
  2. Health: Coronavirus death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Vaccine: What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do — Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public —WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020.