Trump to send more than 200 fed­eral agents to Chicago to help lo­cal cops, not pa­trol Port­land-style

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - LYNN SWEET,

After throw­ing a na­tional spot­light on vi­o­lent crime in Chicago from the White House — and trash­ing Demo­cratic may­ors in fiery cam­paign-style re­marks — Pres­i­dent Donald Trump talked to Mayor Lori Light­foot on Wed­nes­day evening to dis­cuss the 200 fed­eral agents he is send­ing to the city.

Trump on Wed­nes­day said he is ex­pand­ing “Oper­a­tion Le­gend,” with the agents head­ing to Chicago to bol­ster ex­ist­ing law en­force­ment ef­forts — not cre­ate a Port­land-style cam­ou­flaged para­mil­i­tary strike force that is at­tract­ing wide­spread crit­i­cism.

The agents will work in part­ner­ship with Chicago police and Light­foot’s of­fice un­der the di­rec­tion of U.S. At­tor­ney John Lausch, whom

Light­foot, a for­mer fed­eral prose­cu­tor, knows and trusts.

Trump and Light­foot are in agree­ment over the strat­egy of send­ing in agents to plug into ex­ist­ing op­er­a­tions. Trump, who has bragged since his 2016 cam­paign he knows how to eas­ily solve crime in Chicago, did not take a fu­ture heav­ier-handed re­sponse off the ta­ble. That’s why Light­foot is wary.

City Hall dis­closed the call with Trump, de­tail­ing in a state­ment the city’s un­der­stand­ing of the ar­range­ment.

Trump “reached out to Mayor Light­foot this evening to con­firm that he plans to send fed­eral re­sources to Chicago to sup­ple­ment on­go­ing fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tions per­tain­ing to vi­o­lent crime. The con­ver­sa­tion was brief and straight­for­ward.

“Mayor Light­foot main­tains that all re­sources will be in­ves­ti­ga­tory in na­ture and be co­or­di­nated through the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice.

“The mayor has made clear that if there is any de­vi­a­tion from what has been an­nounced, we will pur­sue all avail­able le­gal op­tions to pro­tect Chicagoans.”

The fed­eral help ar­rives as the city con­tin­ues to strug­gle to con­tain gun vi­o­lence, with the lat­est tragedy on Tues­day night, with a shoot­ing out­side a gang funeral that left 15 peo­ple wounded. Trump noted the Tues­day shoot­ings.

Among those in the East Room for the an­nounce­ment was the mother of Ver­nado Jones Jr., 14, one of eight peo­ple shot near 61st and Car­pen­ter on the Fourth of July.

As part of Oper­a­tion Le­gend, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr ear­lier sent agents from the FBI, U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice, DEA and ATF to help state and lo­cal law en­force­ment, be­gin­ning in Kansas City, Mis­souri.

On Wed­nes­day:

About pol­icy — In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Chicago Sun-Times, be­fore Trump’s an­nounce­ment, Lausch, at the White House, said the more than 200 extra agents “will be folded into the cur­rent FBI, ATF, DEA and [De­part­ment of ] Home­land Se­cu­rity teams that are al­ready work­ing in Chicago with the Chicago Police De­part­ment and the other lo­cal and state law en­force­ment.”

Lausch was ex­plicit in stat­ing that the beefed-up agent pres­ence in Chicago would not re­sem­ble Port­land, where cam­ou­flaged fed­eral agents are pa­trolling streets and mak­ing ar­rests as part of their “mis­sion” to pro­tect fed­eral build­ings.

“This is not pa­trol. This is not against civil un­rest,” he said.

Lausch said the fed­eral teams will work with the Chicago Police De­part­ment to fo­cus on “gangs, guns and drugs.”

Lausch said he has talked to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown “mul­ti­ple times. And he knows the agents are com­ing.”

Re­gard­ing politics — Trump is mak­ing “law and or­der” a cen­tral cam­paign theme. At the an­nounce­ment, he blasted what he as­serted was a “rad­i­cal move­ment to de­fund, dis­man­tle and dis­solve our police de­part­ments,” things Light­foot is not do­ing. He also de­plored the “Chicago politi­cians” who sup­port sanc­tu­ary cities.

Light­foot knew about Trump’s re­marks by the time she held an al­ready sched­uled press con­fer­ence, and she had a fierce re­ac­tion. “The pres­i­dent has been on a cam­paign now for some time against Demo­cratic may­ors across the coun­try,” Light­foot said. “The pres­i­dent is try­ing to di­vert at­ten­tion from his failed lead­er­ship on COVID-19. He has failed. He has failed. He has failed.”

At a news con­fer­ence later Wed­nes­day, Trump was asked about Light­foot’s slap.

Trump said, “The cities, un­for­tu­nately, that are in trou­ble are all run by Democrats. You have rad­i­cal-left Democrats run­ning cities like Chicago and so many oth­ers.”

Trump then to­tally mis­rep­re­sented Light­foot’s po­si­tion. Said Trump, “Chicago is a dis­as­ter. The mayor is say­ing, ‘Don’t come in.’ The mayor is telling us not to come in. At some point, we can void that if we have to, but we — and we may have to, at some — be­cause it’s out of con­trol . ... She’s a — she’s a Demo­crat. I’m go­ing to be nice. She’s a Demo­crat. She’s mak­ing a big mis­take. Peo­ple are dy­ing in Chicago and other cities, and we can solve the prob­lem.”

Fed­eral of­fi­cers use chem­i­cal ir­ri­tants and crowd con­trol mu­ni­tions to dis­perse protesters Wed­nes­day in Port­land, Ore­gon. NOAH BERGER/AP


An ATF agent and Chicago police on Wed­nes­day in­ves­ti­gate the scene where 15 peo­ple were shot the day be­fore.


Mayor Lori Light­foot


Pres­i­dent Donald Trump

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