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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.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.