DHS Chief Chad Wolf Refutes Oregon Governor; Says Federal Officers Will Remain 'Until Violence Ends'

Update (1340ET): DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf pushed back against a statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown that troops would withdraw starting Thursday.

"As I told the Governor yesterday, federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends. We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack," he said in a Wednesday tweet.

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Update (1150ET): The state of Oregon has reportedly reached a deal over a drawdown of federal enforcement officers from the state, according to AP.

Gov. Kate Brown (D) said on Wednesday that the agents will begin leaving downtown Portland on Thursday.

On Tuesday evening, the NY Post reported that the Trump administration had begun talks with the Oregon governor's office over a drawdown of agents sent to bring law and order to Portland after two months of violent protests.

The news comes just one day after the US Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security were weighing whether to send more agents - with the Marshals in the process of identifying up to 100 additional personnel for an Oregon deployment.

"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," said President Trump on 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."

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US tactical forces deployed to Seattle to protect federal property have left the city according to Mayor Jenny Durkan, who said local officials complained that their presence was 'escalating tensions,' according to Reuters.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

Mayor Jenny Durkan rejected the deployment, saying it did not have the consent of local officials and could incite the property damage it was supposed to prevent.

She tweeted on Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told her that U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit agents had left Seattle. DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. -Reuters

On Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr said that federal agents were stopping "rioters" in Portland who were trying to destroy the courthouse. 

Meanwhile last weekend, Seattle saw its largest Black Lives Matter protest in several weeks, while a man was shot at an Austin, Texas demonstration. Two protesters in Aurora, Colorado were shot and wounded, which led to the Tuesday arrest of a man.

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security was sued over its deployment of agents to the Portland courthouse on grounds that it was unconstitutional for feds to take over the role of local and state law enforcement.

Widespread and mostly peaceful protests against racial bias and police brutality have taken place in the United States since May 25 when George Floyd, a Black man, died under the knee of a white officer in Minneapolis.

Federal agents sent to Portland have used tear gas, pepper balls and stun grenades on protesters outside a federal courthouse, who have tried to tear down a fence erected around it. -Reuters

On Wednesday, President Trump said the feds won't leave Portland until the city is secured.

On Tuesday, Barr told a House panel that 'far more' officers had been injured than protesters, who are using industrial-grade fireworks, firebombs and other weapons - adding that two federal agents sent to Portland may have been permanently blinded by lasers.