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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Kevin Dietsch/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday denounced the Trump administration's use of federal agents against protesters in Portland, Oregon, saying, "We cannot give up liberty for security."

Why it matters: Paul's statement is the first pushback against the administration on the issue from a Republican lawmaker.

What he's saying: "We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will," Paul tweeted, including a link to an article from conservative news site Hot Air that criticized "federal agents kitted out in military or paramilitary trappings."

The big picture: Top House Democrats called for a probe into the situation over the weekend, saying federal agencies "appear to have increasingly abused emergency authorities to justify the use of force against Americans exercising their right to peaceful assembly."

  • Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told NPR that Trump ordering DHS' involvement "is an effort — a last-gasp effort by a failed president with sagging polling data who's trying to look strong for his base."

The other side: President Trump and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf have defended the use of federal law enforcement, claiming that violent anarchists have overtaken the city and defaced federal property.

  • Trump continued that line while speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, claiming the city was "totally out of control." He added, "In Portland, they've done a fantastic job. They've been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in very short period of time. No problem."

Go deeper

Trump appointee resigns over order removing job protections for some federal workers

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Federal Salary Council Chair Ron Sanders resigned on Monday over President Trump’s recent executive order that strips civil service protections for some federal workers.

Why he's saying: Sanders, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, said he could no longer work for the president as “a matter of conscience.”

4 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

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