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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he "absolutely" believes the Trump administration is violating the Constitution by deploying unidentified federal agents to arrest protesters in the city.

The state of play: President Trump and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf have defended the use of federal law enforcement by claiming that violent anarchists have overrun the city, which has seen more than 50 nights of protests over the killing of George Floyd.

  • The U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon has called for an investigation into reports that officers have arbitrarily detained protesters in unmarked vans.
  • Trump tweeted on Sunday: "We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!"

What they're saying: "The president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect," Wheeler told Jake Tapper. "What's happening here is we have dozens if not hundreds of federal troops descending upon our city and what they're doing is they are sharply escalating the situation."

  • "Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism, and it's not helping the situation at all. They're not wanted here. We haven't asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave," he continued.
  • "The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent. ... People are being literally scooped off the streets into unmarked vans — rental cars, apparently. They are being denied probable cause, and they are denied due process. They don't even know who's pulling them into the vans."

Go deeper: U.S. attorney calls for investigation into federal officers arresting Portland protestors

Go deeper

Bill Barr praises killing of self-proclaimed antifa member

Bill Barr in the White House in August. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr in a statement Friday praised law enforcement for tracking and killing Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-described antifa member suspected of killing a right-wing activist who was part of a pro-Trump caravan in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 29.

Why it matters: Barr claimed that the "streets of our cities are safer" after Reinoehl's death, and that the event is an "unmistakable demonstration that the United States will be governed by law, not violent mobs."

Updated 5 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.