Per RCP, Attorney General Bill Barr disputed CBS host Margaret Brennan’s insistence that protests this week in Lafayette Park near the White House were entirely peaceful.
“Let me get to this. This has been totally obscured by the media. They broke into the Treasury Department. And they were injuring police,” he said.
“The message is sometimes communicated by the media,” he said. “All I heard was comments about how peaceful the protesters were. I didn’t hear about the fact that there were 150 law enforcement officers injured.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about some of the events of the week. On Monday, Lafayette Park was cleared of protesters. You’ve spoken about this. The federal agents who were there report up to you. Did you think it was appropriate for them to use smoke bombs, tear gas, pepper balls, projectiles at what appeared to be peaceful protesters?
BARR: They were not peaceful protesters. And that’s one of the big lies that the- the media is- seems to be perpetuating at this point.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Three of my CBS colleagues were there. We talked to them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: They did not hear warnings. They did not see protesters–
BARR: There were three warnings.
MARGARET BRENNAN:–throwing anything.
BARR: There were three warnings given. But let’s get back to why we took that action. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, OK, there were violent riots in- at Lafayette Park where the park police were under constant attack at the- behind their bike rack fences. They were battling over the fences. They were trying to get entry. They were throwing bricks and inflammable liquid at the police. One fifth of the- there have been 750 officers hurt in the last week. One fifth of those have been in Washington, D.C.. Most of those have been federal officers at Lafayette Park. On Sunday, things reached a crescendo. The officers were pummeled with bricks. Crowbars were used to pry up the pavers at the park and they were hurled at police. There were fires set in not only St. John’s Church, but a historic building at Lafayette was burned down.
MARGARET BRENNAN: These were things that looters did.
BARR: Not looters, these were- these were the- the violent rioters who were- dominated Lafayette Park.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But what I’m asking about–
BARR: They broke into the Treasury Department,
MARGARET BRENNAN: –on Monday when it was a peaceful protest.
BARR: I’m going to- let me get to this, because this has been totally obscured by the media. They broke into the Treasury Department, and they were injuring police. That night,–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Sunday night?
BARR: Sunday night, the park police prepared a plan to clear H Street and put a- a larger perimeter around the White House so they could build a more permanent fence on Lafayette.
MARGARET BRENNAN: This is something you approved on Sunday night?
BARR: No. The park police on their own on- on Sunday night determined this was the proper approach. When I came in Monday, it was clear to me that we did have to increase the perimeter on that side of Lafayette Park and push it out one block. That decision was made by me in the morning. It was communicated to all the police agencies, including the Metropolitan Police at 2:00 p.m. that day. The effort was to move the perimeter one block, and it had to be done when we had enough people in place to achieve that. And that decision, as I say, was communicated to the police at 2:00 p.m.. The operation was run by the park police. The park police was facing what they considered to be a very rowdy and non-compliant crowd. And there were projectiles being hurled at the police. And at that point, it was not to respond–