House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler attacked Attorney General Bill Barr in a Tuesday hearing by arguing riots had wound down when Trump sent federal agents to Portland, but reports on the ground say otherwise.
Attacks on the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in downtown Portland far predate President Donald Trump’s announcement of Operation Legend in which he sent roughly 200 agents to the city, according to local media reports. The courthouse and businesses in the city were busy boarding up their windows prior to the weekend of July 4, and violent riots were had been and continued to be a nightly occurrence up to the beginning of the operation. (RELATED: Media Downplays Ongoing Violence In Portland, Claims ‘Right-Wing’ Outlets Are Playing Up The Unrest)
“In most of these cities, the protests have begun to wind down before you marched in and confronted the protesters. And the protesters aren’t mobs. They are mothers and veterans and mayors,” Nadler claimed Tuesday.
The Trump administration did send a smaller detachment of agents to Portland on June 26 following an executive order defending national monuments. Protesters had repeatedly set fire to Portland’s iconic elk statue in downtown, and city leaders ultimately removed it for its own protection on July 2nd. July 2nd was also the first night there was a recorded arrest by federal officers, according to Willamette Week.
Reports say that larger peaceful protests began to die down prior to the arrival of federal forces on July 22, but those demonstrations had consistently been followed by bouts of nightly violence from smaller groups specifically targeting the city’s federal buildings, according to KGW8. The smaller groups of violent rioters remained as active as they had ever been up to the arrival of federal agents.
“You can tell by their actions and what they were saying that they wanted a fight,” Daily Caller Reporter Shelby Talcott said after arriving in Portland in mid July.
It is unclear why the smaller groups of protesters targeted Portland’s federal buildings – a decision that triggered the sending of more agents – but it may have been seen as the most effective means of protesting Trump in a city so far removed from the nation’s capital.
Even with the arrival of federal agents, the city’s courthouse is covered in graffiti and its glass windows and doors are shattered. Repairs to that building alone are expected to cost roughly $50,000.