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Federal police make an arrest as they confront protesters in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Portland, Ore., on Sunday.

Democratic mayors in Portland, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Kansas City and Albuquerque urged congressional leaders in a letter Monday to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarized federal agents to cities that oppose such action.

Driving the news: The Trump administration is looking at deploying more federal agents to Portland, Oregon, following unrest during protests over the weekend, according to multiple reports.

  • Federal agents "repeatedly fired what appeared to be tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls at protesters outside the federal courthouse in downtown in Portland" early Monday after some activists "shot fireworks" and climbed a fence surrounding the building, AP reports.
  • Democratic mayors in Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C., wrote a letter to congressional leaders and the Trump administration last week that accused federal agents of escalating violence against civilians.

What they're saying: In their letter, the mayors criticized the Trump administration for "authorizing the deployment of riot-gear clad forces" to cities including Washington, D.C., Portland, Seattle without local authorities' consent.

  • "This administration's egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen," they added.

The other side: Axios has contacted the Trump administration for comment. President Trump tweeted Monday, "Homeland Security or Federal Forces are little involved in Seattle, other than we have a large standby team in case of emergency. The media is calling that one wrong also. In Portland, we are protecting Federal property, including the Courthouse, which wouldn't last a day!"

  • Attorney General Bill Barr will address the issue of federal agents in cities in opening remarks to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, where he will refer to those involved in unrest during protests as "rioters" and tell lawmakers they should "condemn violence against federal officers and destruction of federal property."

Go deeper: Liberal cities resist as Trump stakes his re-election hopes on "law and order"

Go deeper

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.

Updated 58 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

4 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

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