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AG Barr Responds to Media Lies About D.C. Riots and Trump's 'Demand' to Send in Troops

Wiliam Barr gave an interview to Margaret Brennan on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday in which the attorney general corrected a lot of false reporting about President Trump's response to the widespread violence and crime that has plagued American cities. 

Brennan began with a CBS report that said President Trump was demanding 10,000 active-duty troops be ordered into American streets. 

"That is completely false," Barr responded. 

The attorney general said a D.C. official told him that Sunday night was the worst violence the nation's capital has seen in 30 years, something Barr said "the media has not done a very good job at covering." 

Barr said that he, along with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and others involved in the decision-making process, all agreed troops should be deployed only as a last resort. For that reason, troops were put on standby in case other agencies became overwhelmed by the violence. 

"I think everyone was on the same page," Barr recalled. 

If Trump, as commander-in-chief of the military demanded troops be sent into cities, as CBS reported, they would be there.

"I think the reporting is completely false on this," Barr concluded. 

Brennan also asked the attorney general if the president had the authority to send in troops if the governors opposed it. Barr pointed out that during the Civil War the confederacy opposed the president sending in "troops to restore order and suppress an insurrection." 

"The federal government sometimes doesn't listen to governors in circumstances," Barr quipped. 

During his last stint as attorney general, Barr recalled the federal government sending in the 82nd Airborne to the Virgin Islands in the early 1990s to restore law and order over the objections of the governor at the time. Barr also recalled federal troops being used to enforce desegregation in the Democratic South during the civil rights era, something Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) articulated beautifully in his New York Times op-ed which readers and staff members of The Times reacted to with horror

Brennan brought up other fake news claiming "peaceful protesters" were cleared from Lafayette Park in D.C. using tear gas so that President Trump could take a photo in front of a church set ablaze the previous night by those supposedly "peaceful" protesters. 

Barr said there've been 750 officers injured in the last week, and one-fifth of those were in Washington, D.C. The "peaceful protesters" in Lafayette Park attacked police officers, threw bricks and inflammable liquids, set fires to buildings, and broke into the Treasury Department. It was on Sunday night when St. John's church was set ablaze, that a plan was put into place to move the "peaceful protesters" further away so a stronger perimeter could be established. The operation could not be done Saturday night, in part because the police line needed reinforcements from police departments in Virginia, which were called in the following day. Barr approved the plan on Sunday and the operation was performed by Park Police and the Secret Service. 

Brennan said CBS journalists reported on Monday morning that no projectiles were being thrown at police officers and no warnings were given to protesters to clear the way. Barr said he was there, saw projectiles being thrown at police, and police gave three warnings for the crowd to move. Perhaps these CBS reporters got another story wrong.

Barr said the Park Police and the Secret Service only fired pepper balls, not tear gas, when they encountered resistance from so-called peaceful protesters. Barr said the plan was in no way connected to Trump's decision to visit the damage done to St. John's Church once the perimeter was established.

Barr's full interview can be seen here

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