Trump administration, Oregon governor's office talking about removing agents from Portland: report

The Trump administration is in early talks with the Oregon governor's office to remove federal officers from Portland that have been in the city since late June to protect its federal courthouse, which has become a focal point for Black Lives Matter protests, a senior White House official told The Associated Press.

The official underlined to the AP that talks had just begun and no agreement was in place. 

The report come a day after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Marshals Service said they were both contemplating sending more agents to assist the officers already on the ground in Portland.

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Protesters and agents once again clashed Tuesday night, with agents using tear gas to disperse the crowds and demonstrators setting off fireworks near the courthouse.

Demonstrations have been happening near the courthouse since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed in Minneapolis police custody at the end of May. Protests have often escalated, leading to the courthouse being damaged. 

The damage to the courthouse is what prompted acting DHS Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers Democrats slam DHS chief for defying subpoena for testimony on worldwide threats DHS IG won't investigate after watchdog said Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments violated law MORE to send in federal officers. However, the presence of the officers has not quelled the ferocity of the demonstrations, but rather the opposite.

On Monday, Billy Williams — the U.S. attorney for the district of Oregon — said that the federal agents would be in Portland as long as they needed to be.

“It is not a solution to tell federal officers to leave when there continues to be attacks on federal property and personnel. We are not leaving the building unprotected to be destroyed by people intent on doing so,” Williams said.

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The same day, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) and Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownPac-12 moves toward 'return to competition' after Big Ten announces resumption of football season Oregon opens first mobile morgue amid wildfires Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE (D) requested to meet with Wolf with the intent of brokering a “cease-fire and removal of heightened federal forces from Portland.”

Despite the reported talks, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE praised the work of the federal officers on Tuesday.

“We, as you know, have done an excellent job of watching over Portland and watching our courthouse where they wanted to burn it down, they’re anarchists, nothing short of anarchist agitators,” Trump said Tuesday. “And we have protected it very powerfully. And if we didn’t go there, I will tell you, you wouldn’t have a courthouse. You’d have a billion-dollar burned-out building.”