News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Federal Agents, Census Memo, and Rosie the Riveter's Return

A federal officer points to a protester in Portland
Getty Images
Jul 22, 2020

Fed Up

The Story

The Trump admin may be sending federal agents to more US cities.

Catch me up.

For nearly two months, protesters across the US have taken to the streets to call for an end to systemic racism and police brutality. In Portland, Oregon, things have gotten especially heated. Last week, the Trump admin sent federal agents to the area. While many protesters have been peaceful, over the weekend some set fire to a police union building while others have thrown cans or hit officers. The mayor had characterized the situation as "violence and vandalism." But he and Oregon's top officials want the federal authorities to leave.


They say the feds are making things worse. Agents have been accused of not identifying themselves when arresting people and detaining them in unmarked vans. Some were caught on camera pepper-spraying and beating a Navy veteran. And one protester was reportedly hospitalized with a skull fracture after a federal agent fired a projectile at his face. The state AG has sued the admin, accusing it of violating protesters' constitutional rights to assembly and due process. But the Trump admin hasn't backed off. Earlier this week, President Trump threatened to send federal law enforcement officials to other US cities.

Which ones?

New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, and Oakland. And the Department of Homeland Security is reportedly planning to send 150 agents to Chicago. The admin says it's to help local law enforcement deal with a spike in crime. There have been over 1,500 shootings in Chicago this year – and another 14 people were injured in a shooting yesterday. But critics see Trump's move as a political one during an election year since he said the cities he's looking at are "all run by very liberal Democrats." Meanwhile, there's the question of whether this is legal.

Is it?

Technically, yes. The federal gov can send in backup to protect federal buildings. And state and local officials can request some help. Chicago's mayor says she'd welcome a partnership with the admin but that a Portland-style deployment would make the city "less safe."


This isn't the first time the Trump admin has been criticized for its use of federal law enforcement. That hasn't stopped Trump, who says the agents have "done a fantastic job." But governors and other officials aren't backing down either – and some are promising to go to the courts or Congress to stop him

And Also...This

Who's asking 'did you get the memo?'...

President Trump. Yesterday, he signed a memo directing the Commerce Secretary to collect data on undocumented immigrants and remove them from the census's final population totals. Reminder: The census helps determine how many seats each state gets in the House and how federal funding is distributed for things like schools and hospitals. Since 1790, the census has counted US citizens and noncitizens, regardless of immigration status. Now, Trump's saying political power shouldn't be given "to people who should not be here at all."

  • Censing a lawsuit: It's unclear how this plan could be enforced. Especially since last year, the Supreme Court blocked the admin from asking people if they're citizens when they fill out the census. Now, immigration rights advocates are saying 'see you in court.

What is always on our minds...

COVID-19. A new CDC report found the number of infections could be more than 10 times higher than what's being reported in some states. It came as President Trump held his first coronavirus briefing since April. This time, with a mask on hand. And he's shifted his tone, saying the crisis would "get worse before it gets better."

Still COVID-19. Yesterday, the Justice Department charged two Chinese hackers for allegedly trying to steal information from hundreds of companies and orgs – including some doing research for a potential coronavirus vaccine. Officials said the hackers sometimes worked with Beijing's spy agency. But didn't say if they got any COVID-19 intel. China has said it's against cyberattacks.

Who's getting some new turf…

The National Women's Soccer League. Yesterday, it announced that it's bringing a professional team to Los Angeles in spring 2022. And it's thanks to the efforts of a majority woman-founded group of owners that includes Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, and former players like Mia Hamm. The team currently dubbed "Angel City" will announce its official name later this year. Goals

What's reminding you 'We Can Do It!'...

These masks.

Live Smarter

Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter. Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.