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Pelosi, Blumenaur condemn 'egregious abuses of power' by Trump against Oregon protestors

Pelosi, Blumenaur condemn 'egregious abuses of power' by Trump against Oregon protestors
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Do Democrats really want unity? MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-Ore.) released a joint statement Saturday evening condemning what they said were "egregious abuses of power" after the Trump administration deployed federal officers to Portland amid protests. 

“As our nation mourns the loss of our colleague and beloved civil rights leader John LewisJohn LewisThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Harris now 'the most influential woman' in American politics Georgia Democrat introduces bill to bar Trump from Capitol after term ends MORE, we are again reminded of the immense power of peaceful protest in the fight against racial injustice and police brutality," the congressional duo said.

"Yet time and time again, the Trump Administration shows its lack of respect for the dignity and First Amendment rights of all Americans."

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Lewis, the longtime representative from Georgia, died Friday at the age of 80. A civil rights legend and champion of voter rights, Lewis was the youngest keynote speaker at the March on Washington and led activists across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. on "Bloody Sunday."

Protests have become widespread across the country following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May.

While protesting has lessened in some cities, demonstrations have still been going strong in Portland, dominating the city's downtown area for well over a month. The demonstrations have, at times, led to damage of federal buildings, prompting Chad Wolf — acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — to send federal officers to the Rose City in recent weeks. 

Wolf in a statement Thursday described protesters as a "violent mob," though protests that night were reported to be mainly peaceful. The acting secretary was also on the ground Thursday to assess the damage to federal property in-person.
  
Oregon lawmakers have been against the federal intervention. 
 
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) tweeted Thursday that he made it clear to Wolf that "we do not need or want" assistance from federal officers.
 
"I told Acting Secretary Wolf that the federal government should remove all federal officers from our streets," Gov. Kate Brown (D) also tweeted Thursday. "His response showed me he is on a mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes. He is putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way."
 
Reports Friday of federal officers, clad in unmarked military fatigues and driving unmarked vans, picking up and detaining protestors on raised more red flags and drew strong pushback from the state's congressional delegation.

Blumenauer, Sens. Jeff Merkley (D) and Ron Wyden (D) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D) asked Friday for the events to be thoroughly reviewed by DHS.

“DHS and DOJ are engaged in acts that are horrific and outrageous in our constitutional democratic republic,” Merkley said.

“First, they are deploying paramilitary forces with no identification indicating who they are or who they work for. Second, these agents are snatching people off the street with no underlying justification. Both of these acts are profound offenses against Americans," he said.

In their statement Saturday, Pelosi and Blumenauer said that the Democratically-controlled House would not tolerate the Trump administration's actions.
 
“We live in a democracy, not a banana republic," they said. "We will not tolerate the use of Oregonians, Washingtonians – or any other Americans – as props in President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE’s political games. The House is committed to moving swiftly to curb these egregious abuses of power immediately.”