During day one of his confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. Attorney General, former Judge Merrick Garland was asked whether he plans to protect Portland from continued Antifa attacks.
"Do you plan to defend the Portland Courthouse against anarchists? The federal court building in Portland?" Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked.
"Any attack on a federal building or damage to a federal building violates federal statutes and those who do it will be prosecuted," Garland said in response.
Sen. Lindsey Graham to Judge Merrick Garland: "Do you promise to defend the Portland courthouse against anarchists?" pic.twitter.com/6pRID0KZrM— The Hill (@thehill) February 22, 2021
Last summer the federal courthouse in Portland came under violent assault for months on end. Anarchists attacking the building attempted to cement closed the doors and burn down federal agents trapped inside.
The Federal Protective Service, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were tired and frustrated. They didn’t want to confront the crowd; they just wanted to go home. For weeks, the chaos at the courthouse had flipped their sleep schedules, turned their family lives upside down and left them scared each night that they would be hit by a firework or flare or blinded by a laser. Many were sent from out of town to reinforce the local agents — some are members of an elite Border Patrol tactical team sent in as reinforcements. But others were already stationed there and said they had chosen to live in the Portland area and call it home.
After each night of protest, they seize dozens of homemade shields, slingshots, blocks of wood and chunks of concrete.
“My friends have been hit in the head with hammers. I know people who have been shot with fireworks. It’s disgusting,” said the Deputy U.S. Marshal who’s been at the courthouse for weeks. “I’ve never thought I’d have to walk around in my office building wearing a gas mask to go sit in front of my computer.”