DANA PERINO (ANCHOR): Attorney General William Barr, telling Special Report anchor Bret Baier today that defunding the police is not the answer.
ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: Today the police chiefs, the rank-and-file officers, understand the need for change, and there has been great change. And I think defunding the police — holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers — is wrong. And I think it's dangerous to demonize police. There's no question, it's an issue and has to be dealt with. But in terms of sheer numbers, is it these police officers who are oppressing African American communities? There's a lot more damage, a lot more killing, a lot more fear engendered on the streets from criminal elements. In Chicago, for example, on one weekend, you know, 60, 70 people shot. If you pull back the police from these communities, there'll be more harm done to these communities.
PERINO: And you can watch Bret's full interview tonight with the attorney general, tonight on Special Report at 6:00 P.M. Eastern.
PERINO: The former vice president, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, through a spokesperson said this. “Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded. He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and we put a stop to this terrible pain. Biden supports the urgent need for reform.” Tell me what you think about the politics of this, Ed.
ED HENRY (CO-ANCHOR, America's Newsroom): Well, I think that's what he's saying today through a spokesman. I went back and checked the transcript. There was a virtual fundraiser that Joe Biden had last week with the actor Don Cheadle. And when asked about this issue, specifically in Los Angeles and what Mayor Garcetti is saying, Joe Biden didn't really give a clear answer about where he was on defunding the police, but said, look, there are some areas where there's enough police officers and the budget's fine. And he said there are, quote, “other places that have a lot more than they need.” So, I wonder what he really meant there. We're going to have to dig into that in terms of, name the cities where the police have simply too much money.
When you talk to most police officers, they're struggling, whether they're in white communities, black communities, to deal with crime and all the issues that pop up. And so, I think Juan [Williams] is right, that this has been on the fringes, but I think unfortunately, in terms of defunding the police, because of this whole debate that we should be having, because this was an awful tragedy for George Floyd to be killed, you now have serious people like the Minnesota city council saying the police are out altogether.
I mean, hats off to Alisyn Camerota of CNN, who pressed the president of the city council in Minneapolis. What am I going to do if somebody robs my house in the middle of the night? And for the president of the city council to actually say, “Well, I've heard that, my neighbors say that, and I feel that. But you know, that's because we have a privilege.” What does white privilege have to do with calling 911, whether you're black, white, Asian, Hispanic?
And finally, I would add, I do think, though, when I listen to the attorney general — we'll have to hear the rest of the interview — he's certainly right. We have to have as much focus on the fact that you have dozens of African Americans killed in Chicago practically every weekend. And I don't see a lot of people protesting about that. But you know what I don't see, also? I don't see the attorney general and the president laying out what police reform they want. Yes, you need to defend the law enforcement officials who do the right thing. But there clearly has to be some reform in this country, and the administration hasn't really articulated what they're going to do on it.