UPDATE: DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said on Fox News that federal agents are "absolutely not" leaving Portland yet, contrary to her announcement.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced on Wednesday that federal agents will be withdrawing from downtown Portland this Thursday. In his own statement, Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf said that authorities will stay if they believe the federal courthouse is still under attack.
What changed, Wolf explained in a phone call with reporters Wednesday, is that Gov. Brown finally reached out to DHS on Day 57 of the 60 straight days of riots in the Rose City, offering Oregon State Police to keep law and order.
"I'm glad that she changed her mind," he said. "I'm glad she reached out."
The federal agents will begin leaving downtown on Thursday, Ms. Brown said in a statement. An agreement between federal and state officials calls for the Oregon State Police to provide security for the exterior of the courthouse, while the usual team of federal officers that protects the courthouse year-round will continue to provide security for the interior of the courthouse. (New York Times)
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.— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 29, 2020
Gov. Brown has long protested the presence of the federal agents, suggesting they did more bullying than protecting.
"These federal officers have acted as an occupying force, refused accountability, and brought violence and strife to our community,” she claimed.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee made the same claim throughout Tuesday's hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr, telling the AG that the agents were tear gassing people at will and staging unconstitutional arrests. Barr defended the administration's decision to deploy the agents, explaining that it was their duty to protect federal property. On Monday night, a rioter threw a Molotov cocktail at the federal courthouse.
"Federal courts are under attack," he said. "Since when is it okay to try to burn down a federal court?"
Secretary Wolf added on Twitter how "glad" he is that Oregon officials have finally come around.
"The state of Oregon is finally agreeing to cooperate with our federal forces--exactly what we asked for since the nightly violence broke out two months ago," he said. "We're glad Oregon is now correcting their months long error."
Portland has experienced more than 60 straight days of unrest since the police death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But we don't have to tell you what a violent mess the city is right now. We can show you.
President Trump said if it wasn't for the federal help, Portland would cease to exist.
If the Federal Government and its brilliant Law Enforcement (Homeland) didn’t go into Portland one week ago, there would be no Portland -- It would be burned and beaten to the ground. If the Mayor and Governor...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
...do not stop the Crime and Violence from the Anarchists and Agitators immediately, the Federal Government will go in and do the job that local law enforcement was supposed to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
Editor's Note: This piece has been updated with additional information.