A statement was released from the Department of Justice on Monday that included a list of cities that, under instructions from President Donald Trump to review federal for funding to state and local governments, were named “anarchist jurisdictions.”

Among these cities were New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Attorney General William Barr, Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf collaborated to provide a memo that identified these governments “that have permitted violence and the destruction of property that have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities.” This is in response to the consistent social justice protests and riots that have broken out since George Floyd’s death in May.

The Justice Department referred to the “defunding of police,” lack of prosecution of protesters for unlawfully assembling and disorderly conduct and the injury of law enforcement officers during violent protests as reason to label these cities “anarchist jurisdictions.”

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” stated Barr. He noted that his goal was that the cities identified would change their course of action, “become serious about performing the basic function of government” and be more concerned with the safety of their citizens.

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The statement from the Justice Department comes after another released on September 3, from several Democratic mayors and governors, claiming Trump was only threatening to take funding away from their “Democrat-run” cities and states in order to distract the American people from the ever-growing COVID-19 death toll. Among these Democratic leaders were New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, both of whose states have cities listed in the Justice Department’s memos. According to their statement, it would be illegal for Trump’s administration to withhold funding from their cities and states.

“He can’t have enough body guards to walk through New York City,” Cuomo told reporters referring to Trump, “It is another attempt to kill New York City.”

Inslee said Trump is “not a dictator,” and called his defunding attempts as “the latest baseless, petty, and divisive move… to distract from his abject failure to protect Americans from COVID-19…The President cannot and will not defund us.”

In response to their statements, a White House official explained that Trump’s efforts to withhold funds only applied to those jurisdictions described as “anarchist,” and that funding would no longer be given at the federal level if their jurisdictions failed to protect their citizens.

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