Republican Senator Rand Paul has become the first of his party to openly criticize President Trump’s use of an elite federal immigration force against anarchic protesters in Portland.

Over the weekend, federal agents in Portland wore uniforms labeled “police” but controversially used unmarked cars to apprehend protesters.

Paul, who is often quick to speak when he believes a president oversteps his constitutional authority, tweeted that the American people “cannot give up liberty for security.”

“We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will,” he tweeted, with a link to conservative news site Hot Air on the topic.

Axios reports:

The big picture: Top House Democrats called for a probe into the situation over the weekend, saying federal agencies “appear to have increasingly abused emergency authorities to justify the use of force against Americans exercising their right to peaceful assembly.”

  • Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told NPR that Trump ordering DHS’ involvement “is an effort — a last-gasp effort by a failed president with sagging polling data who’s trying to look strong for his base.”

The other side: President Trump and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf have defended the use of federal law enforcement, claiming that violent anarchists have overtaken the city and defaced federal property.

President Trump is defending his decision to use the elite force, claiming Portland city officials have lost control of their city.

“We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it,” he tweeted. “Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!”

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