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Trump’s Portland Surge Stokes Tensions and Opens New Legal Clash

  • Critics see election year ploy to help shore up Trump’s base
  • Portland deployment seen as test case for Chicago, New York
Federal officers prepare to disperse the crowd of protestors outside the Multnomah County Justice Center in Portland, Oregon, on July 17.
Federal officers prepare to disperse the crowd of protestors outside the Multnomah County Justice Center in Portland, Oregon, on July 17.Photographer: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is escalating tensions with state and local authorities by seeking to deploy more federal agents into cities gripped by protests and spikes in crime, a policy that appeals to his base ahead of the election but faces legal challenges.

Twice in recent days, Trump has said he wants more federal law enforcement officers sent to cities such as Chicago and New York following the dispatch of Department of Homeland Security personnel to Portland, Oregon, to protect federal property. In Portland, pitched battles have erupted between federal agents and protesters, prompting state officials to sue the Trump administration -- yet the president remained undeterred.