Acting DHS secretary: I don't need 'invitation' from Portland to deploy officers

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Watch live: Acting DHS chief testifies on deployment of federal agents to protests The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal MORE argued Monday that he does not need authorization or an "invitation" from local officials before deploying federal law enforcement assets to detain suspects.

In an interview with Fox News, Wolf defended his authority to conduct law enforcement operations on the streets of Portland, Ore., where local officials have requested that DHS withdraw after videos of protesters being snatched off the street by officers in unmarked cars sparked outrage.

"I don't need invitations by the state, state mayors or state governors to do our job. We're going to do that, whether they like us there or not," Wolf said.

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"We want to work with them," he added. "And we have a great working relationship with the vast majority of local law enforcement. However there are some communities that, again, wand to breed this environment that allows this lawlessness."

His remarks mirrored those of acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, who told CNN's "New Day" on Monday that other cities experiencing protests over the death of George Floyd could see DHS deployments should agents learn of "planned attacks" against federal officers or facilities, as he alleged was the case in Portland.

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“If we get the same kind of intelligence in other places about threats to other federal facilities or officers, we would respond the same way," Cuccinelli said.

The two have argued that the Trump administration retains authority to conduct law enforcement activities in cities where they are not welcomed by local officials, including in Oregon, where Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownTrump: Time for Portland to bring in National Guard Businesses and states launch own relief funds as congressional talks stall COVID-19 changed learning, but obstructionist politics of education remain MORE (D) insisted that DHS withdraw. Portland's mayor has made similar calls.

"I told Acting Secretary Wolf that the federal government should remove all federal officers from our streets. 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," Brown said in a tweet.

It was reported Monday that DHS will send dozens of federal agents to Chicago for "crime-fighting" efforts, though it was unclear how the agents would assist local law enforcement.

Portland, along with dozens of cities across the country, remains the site of protests against police brutality and racism that have continued for weeks in response to the death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed in Minneapolis police custody. Four officers have been charged over Floyd's death, including one accused of second-degree murder.