Jim Jordan claims federal agents brought in to fight graffiti saved Portland courthouse

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The Republican congressman was defending Attorney General William Barr's decision to send federal agents into Portland against the wishes of city and state officials.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) suggested a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, wouldn't be standing today if Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr hadn't sent in federal agents to tear gas and abduct protesters off the streets.

Jordan made the comments during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, in which Democrats sought to question Barr about his politicization of the Department of Justice and his attempt to use the legal system to help Trump.

"Would the federal building in Portland be standing today if you had not deployed federal law enforcement?" Jordan asked Barr.

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"I don't think so," Barr replied, saying there had been "multiple attempts to set it on fire."

During the hearing, Democrats excoriated Barr for sending in federal agents to disperse protesters in Portland who are demanding racial justice in the wake of George Floyd's death.

The Trump administration called in those agents after Trump signed an executive order in late June to protect federal properties. The Department of Homeland Security issued a memo justifying their presence in Portland that included mostly graffiti incidents.

However, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the presence of federal agents — some of whom abducted peaceful protesters off the streets — were only causing a backlash that could lead to real violence.

"Trump is looking for a confrontation in Oregon in the hopes of winning political points in Ohio or Iowa," Brown, a Democrat, tweeted, adding that the Trump administration is "on a mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes."

It wasn't the first time Jordan sought to defend Barr for using federal agents to wage violence against protesters in the United States.

Earlier in the hearing, Jordan defended Barr's decision to send in federal agents and military police to tear gas peaceful protesters in front of the White House — all so Trump could take a photo-op with a Bible across the street.

"Would St. John's Church be standing today if you hadn't taken action?" Jordan asked Barr.

While the church faced some instances of graffiti, it was not under attack when Barr had protesters tear-gassed.

In fact, clergy at the church were handing out water and snacks to protesters before they were shooed off the property for Trump's photo-op.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.