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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) defended the use of federal law enforcement officers in Portland and compared violent protesters in the city to the "anarchists and insurrectionists" who seceded from the Union in the prelude to the Civil War.

The big picture: Cotton's comments comes after President Trump told reporters on Monday the administration would send more federal law enforcement into cities run by Democrats. The Arkansas senator previously sparked a controversy by calling for Trump in a New York Times op-ed to "send in the troops" to quell violent protests.

  • Media reports and videos shared on social media appeared to show that Department of Homeland Security officers were taking protesters into unmarked vehicles without explanation.
  • House Democrats and the U.S. attorney for Oregon have demanded inspector general investigations into the matter. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has called the reported actions of federal law enforcement "abhorrent" and "unconstitutional."

What he's saying: "These insurrectionists in the streets of Portland are little different from the insurrectionists who seceded from the Union in 1861 in South Carolina and tried to take over Fort Sumter," Cotton said on Fox News Tuesday.

  • "And just like President Lincoln wouldn't stand for that, the federal government today cannot stand for the vandalism, the fire bombing, or any attacks on federal property."
  • "It is right to send law enforcement in to defend federal property and federal facilities."

Go deeper: Six mayors accuse federal agents of escalating violence against civilians

Go deeper

Updated Oct 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The major police reforms enacted since George Floyd's death

Federal officers in Portland, Oregon on July 21. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Nationwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd's killing have put new pressure on states and cities to scale back the force that officers can use on civilians.

Why it matters: Police reforms of this scale have not taken place since the inception of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, following George Zimmerman's acquittal for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.