#William Barr stands by decision to clear DC protesters

#William Barr stands by decision to clear DC protesters

June 8, 2020 | 7:42pm

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr on Monday said he stood by his decision to forcefully clear protesters outside the White House last week with pepper balls and smoke canisters.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Barr said not enough attention had been given to the arson and violence that proceeded Monday’s decision to move the large crowd of demonstrators out of Lafayette Park ahead of the evening curfew.

He also said rocks and bottles were thrown at him when he inspected the scene on Monday afternoon.

“On Monday we were reacting to three days of extremely violent demonstrations right across from the White House,” Barr said when asked if he would do anything differently.

“There were a lot of injuries to police officers, arson, things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended that the president go down down to the bunker. We can’t have that in our country,” he continued.

Barr said Park Police made the decision on Sunday night to extend the perimeter around the White House and maintained that the call had nothing to do with President Trump’s decision to stage a photo-op with a bible outside St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“The image has somewhat been created and mis-created in the sense that I haven’t seen any videos on TV of all the violence that was happening preceding that,” Barr said, revealing that he had projectiles thrown at him on Monday afternoon when he went to assess the scene.

“I personally saw projectiles thrown at me and the police officers there and my security detail made me move back because they said that projectiles had been landing in a certain area — things like rocks, bottles.”

President Trump was criticized for the move which the White House quickly pinned on Barr after images emerged of riot police punching a cameraman and protesters dousing their faces with water.

The American Civil Liberties Union is now suing Trump and Barr on behalf of Black Lives Matter, claiming they violated the civil rights of protesters.

Barr said he would do the same again and defended Trump’s decision to pose outside St. John’s.

“My decision that you asked me about earlier was moving the perimeter of one block to provide greater security for the White House and I would do the same,” Barr said.

“The President the United States should be able to walk one block from the White House over to the church of presidents. He should be able to do,” he continued.

“This canard that this exercise was done to make that possible is totally false. I don’t see anything wrong with the president walking over to the church,” he added.


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