President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department will "immediately surge" federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and Albuquerque in an effort to combat violent crime.

The big picture: The deployment is an expansion of Operation Legend, which the Justice Department launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Mo., as a coordinated initiative "across all federal law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight the sudden surge of violent crime."

  • The operation has seen hundreds of federal agents sent to Kansas City to help quell violence that erupted after the shooting death of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, for whom Operation Legend is named.
  • Chicago has also seen a surge in violence, including a mass shooting on Tuesday night that left 14 injured.

Details: The administration will send about 200 officers to Chicago and 35 to Albuquerque from the FBI, ATF, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Marshals service and the Department of Homeland Security, which has been stationed in Portland as Black Lives Matter protests have continued for over 50 days.

Between the lines: Operation Legend is distinct from the Department of Homeland Security's presence in Portland, which was established under an executive order seeking to protect monuments and federal property from protesters.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday she had received assurances that the federal agents would be focused on dealing with gun violence, not targeting protesters. "We welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship," Lightfoot said. "We do not welcome authoritarianism."
  • Reports of unidentified federal agents snatching protesters into unmarked vans in Portland have sparked intense backlash against the Trump administration.

The bottom line: President Trump has staked his re-election hopes on a law-and-order message by promising to send law enforcement to more Democratic-led cities, which now find themselves in the topsy-turvy position of having to resist federal government action, Axios' Shane Savitsky notes.

  • "If Biden got in, that would be true for the country," Trump told reporters Monday after saying more agents would be deployed. "The whole country would go to hell. And we’re not going to let it go to hell."

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

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Updated Aug 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Riot declared in Portland again as protesters rally at police union building

Portland police officers pursue a crowd on Aug. 1. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Police declared a riot in Portland again overnight, as protesters rallied at the same police union building demonstrators broke into and set a fire at the previous night, per AP.

What's new: The latest protest was short-lived, according to AP. Police declared another riot early Monday as some demonstrators marched through the streets. "Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest or citation, and may subject you to the use of crowd control agents, impact weapons, or tear gas," the police tweeted.

Updated 14 hours ago - World

U.S. officials condemn Belarus election and "senseless" protest crackdown

Belarus riot police detain a protester after polls closed in the presidential election in Minsk on Sunday, the first of two nights of unrest across the country. Photo: Siarhei Leskiec/AFP via Getty Images

Trump administration members, Democratic and Republican lawmakers and former Vice President Joe Biden expressed concern Monday over Belarus' weekend elections and subsequent brutal crackdown on protesters in the country.

Why it matters: President Aleksander Lukashenko, known as "Europe's last dictator," claimed to have won in a landslide against the pro-democracy opposition in a Sunday election widely viewed as rigged.

13 of Biden's former rivals to appear together at Democratic convention

Democratic presidential candidates at the primary debate in Charleston, SC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a show of unity at the Democratic National Convention, 13 of Joe Biden's former 2020 challengers will appear via video to talk about the party's vision for the country and how they'll work with Biden to get it done.

Why it matters: Coalescing around Biden and his eventual running mate will help Democrats head into the general election against President Trump with a united front — unlike what they did in 2016.