Former Dallas Police Responds to Sessions' Remarks on Policing

ABC News' Amna Nawaz interviews former Dallas Police Chief, David Brown about Senator Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing.
13:42 | 01/11/17

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Transcript for Former Dallas Police Responds to Sessions' Remarks on Policing
Chief brown back here you know he set himself up there by talking about that are sessions dead. By being a little bit at odds with at the candidate who he's been supporting from very early on he was when he was actually the first sitting senator. To support to publicly support. Donald Trump do you think he effectively laid himself out as an independent. Attorney potential attorney general who can stand up to the president if anything. I think so another take away. Talking with an contrasts with what they president elect is on community based policing is almost clear. Where you heard the president elect on the campaign trail talk about bringing back stop and race. And stop of Christian community policing or in two contrasting. Policing methodologies. But if it was like the mayor Lou to. He came prepared and and one big preparation out fault was to show support. For the law enforcement to me. A police off. To have them in the audience and staying it. And and make an acknowledgment that they all support him every organization. Every neighbor grew four police office support him. It and then to also say. But he believes in holding office accountable when they don't follow the law of rule. That that was significant for me and I think it it was his way of speaking to the community. And to law enforcement. But I would say more needs to be done to speak to the community. From the attorney general I think that that was a good first step. A lot more needs to be done to to go through the details. Of how that accountability will be meted out. From from the attorney general office. Reclined back to you down in DC this is one of the issues that's come up again and again there is a constant criticism. Some of his past voting record of some of his comments that he made in the past. He didn't need to do it to get confirmed but is senator sessions doing and not. To allay some of the fears that some members of the American community tap. I don't think he's gonna pick up many if any new democratic votes based on its test and I think it your clients that. It to oppose him because of what you said and done he said the and did those things you can only walk away so much he's explain some context. For some of the comments that he believes in it and sometimes taken out of context but you have to look very far beneath the surface here to realize. This is someone who is representing a drastic change in direction for not just American legal policy but for policy more softly I thought a couple of telling exchanges. On that is when he was asked about that the gay marriage opinion when he was asked about will be vs way. In both cases he said look the Supreme Court spoke but he made a point particularly I gay marriage that it was a five to four decision. It could easily be five to four in another direction under trump administration if he gets a couple of Supreme Court picks as we might expect similar on on Roe vs. Wade he stood by his contention that it's one of the worst. This Supreme Court decisions ever. Donald Trump said during the campaign trail if he's elected that roe V wait basically goes away because of the Supreme Court so he's going to be leaving things in a different direction either he's not come out say. I plan set to flout the law on on gay marriage are on abortion rights but he he clearly has it position here the trump position which were taken. Beans and a much different direction. And Rick just walk us through now in terms of the confirmation process as controversial. A nominee as he me be as many people may have objections to him is there any reason to think that he won't get confirmed. Elections have consequences and it's sad often but it must be remembered this is a man campaign around the country. For Donald thought that shouldn't be surprised that he was chosen to be attorney general Republicans have. A 52 to 48 edge in the senate that includes senator sessions. Even if he were to recuse himself as is tradition you have 51 votes in favor so at least you need one or two maybe even three Republicans to cross over for this to be in serious jeopardy. And I thought very interest and they chose to have. He and introduce this morning by senator Susan Collins a Republican from Maine by the way she. Consider yourself pro choice on abortion rights he is the most moderate Republican senator usually the crossover vote she came announce its intent to supports of the session so. Functionally speaking. You're not gonna get the a majority of senators to oppose senator sessions might be different thing and another -- it used to be that you need sixty votes to overcome a filibuster Democrats of course got to wait. Did away with that threshold late in the Obama presidency and some of the efforts now to try to block trump nomination there ruling that decision because it makes it all that much power. Back here in New York mayor Rawlings Blake going to get your take on this also as a former lawyer. They're often put in that position of having to defend the law which may not be a law that she personally. A green red and he took a lot of questions on specific issues like that. Those are the questions I think he's probably kicking himself about now because one of the things that I think people need to hear between those who have concerns. Is is he willing. Is he able to put aside his. Political views his personal views his religious views and follow the law. And when he was challenged on the number of optically civil rights cases that he has personally. Been involved in. Left us with a lot of questions so I think. Those people were looking for comfort that were looking for confidence in. His answers I don't think found it with that went with that exchange he had what senator. Cheaper and you mentioned how he was speaking to both the law enforcement officials and community members out there he's got the rest of the afternoon he also has tomorrow we should talk about that in just a second. I'm with Rick Klein as well. What else. To effectively Nady persuade some of the people. Who opposed his nomination now so that they don't spend the next four years fighting him on everything he got. Only he could say anything to. Try to forgo. Partisan fight for the next four years I think that comes with the territory. Of this type of elections harp on election. I think that the the main thing for attorney general is to be fair follow the law he's he's repeatedly emphasized. How will follow the law I think he needs to continue to say that so people can really hear and feel bad. You know he'll said it's not politics and maybe previous positions he's taken as a senator. And follow the law I think that's a good recipe for him for the rest of the afternoon is to continue to. How about following the law even though he might disagree with the policy army he would have been advocated against them to go along but it's turned film people follow. I think. People want to see not just some say it but to say because when I was in position this is what I do. It that would give people that that confidence that we can say listen we might not liking we not we may not agree with one single. Political position you've taken but when you were put in that position before. You did the right thing and we need to hear war that we talked earlier about that question. When he was asked I think was by the chair will you. Will you be able to tell the president now and he went like us at all around that question talking about what a good attorney general would do and you know finally at the end I think he's he got around to saying he would vehement tone now. Will he told he he was clear about the positions where he he differed that the Muslim man. And there was the the Muslim and he added that the challenge a difference of opinion when there was one other issue. He would just at this you know. On even on the campaign trail disagree with president elect electron and this is howling and I think that would really crystallized it for people say okay. We get it. You can mean you can. Disagree and you can still have that pain. Good working relationship with president elect from. We just need to see it all innocent some of the ingredients and and we didn't even see it look a little bit more like a good case if he had almost. Rick I just looking ahead to tomorrow it is worth pointing out there is historic moment. Coming tomorrow indeed to a senator sessions confirmation hearing for the first time it sounds like a sitting senator will be testifying. Against another sitting senator can you give us some context. Well. This is a fascinating development center the Cory Booker democratic senator from New Jersey has announced that he intends to be part of the panel that there there is a long tradition in the senate. A team deferential to your own and in clearly people vote against nominations but coming out and speak against a nomination indicate at the committee level like that knowing. That the week those words carry that is not a small decisions and of the poker deciding to go ahead with that of course notable that he's African American also notable that he's talked about as a potential 20/20 presidential contender those. That's not a coincidence in in the way that he's gonna take the spotlight tomorrow but it. Fits in with the the broader argument that Democrats are trying to me that that senator sessions like many of the Trout nominations you have Democrats argue. This is not just someone that we disagree with this is someone who's an actual threat. Too vulnerable populations in the United States. That is the kind of drama that the Democrats are portraying around the this hearing fight in several of the hearings that we'll see this week. And I think underscored by this that I decision by by senator poker also congressman John Lewis an icon a legend of the civil rights movement speak speaking out against senator sessions. Highlighting some of them that the point of view he's been capacity considered to be racist. Those these are not small items and I think that is that the we that they're trying to build an argument. It that really is just an opposition to don't because functionally speaking senator sessions will be the next attorney general barring some. And for seeing calamitous circumstances around this confirmation hearing it's about laying down markers for how that at the trump presidency is going to be opposed over the warriors. Well on this is the other big issue right is that it he'll talk about these divisive times that we're in president elect himself at how he wants to unify people moving forward. Senator sessions is not exactly a unifying character right now but could he potentially become one by what he seeks to do want. I think there's he he has I think the biggest opportunity in that entire administration out of all the cabinet members to be that unify. To be that person that can bring the country together think about it. Issues of race that we talked about the issues. Where we are as a country when it comes to public safety. I think that as as a former mayor I know that my former colleagues were probably their ears probably perked up when they heard. And talk about one fast track DNA. Analysis has so important when we're trying to get. You know that the criminals off that off the streets make our community safer and to know that he supports things like that. When when I heard him talk about illegal guns and really focusing on getting illegal guns off the street. We know that's not normally. That the things. As a Democrat and a but that's not normally what we hear Republicans touting that there going to be aggressive. On illegal guns and used the federal laws. Two support this effort. I know that that was something that I said you know he he can find some supporters. War for those things and really bring. Use it to bring communities together Newton. Hey Rick before that you go down in DC's give us a quick preview for the afternoon of weeks back to see. From senator sessions will reportedly have to do for the rest of the day before he trying to get to take a break and get some sleep tonight. Yes the make it through all the senators and we had at least one senator saying he intends the dork out with them a little bit thin dark council seat how that goes but I. I think the important thing for for democratic lawmakers in the in the afternoon session and in to tomorrow. He's just make the case against him and an almost like a prosecutor would use his own words his own decisions its own deeds in the past. To try to to try to smoke him out on some areas and don't let him get away as Iran's plates and I think he didn't really answer what would you do. If Donald Trump. Disagreed with him on a major matter of policy. That that's where it this is that's what this is now and I think just understanding with the way his mind it's been operate how it's gonna work around the Department of Justice clearly. He went into this knowing that he'd have to separate himself from the Clinton matter have to make a separation between being a politician. And being attorney general will awkward at times but I think digging into the record a little bit is is that we that Democrats will begin to paint that portrait of what to expect in the Department of Justice over the past couple years. Parent that is their political director Rick Klein down in DC thanks for hanging with us we'll check back when you a little bit later back here in New York she frowned and you have to lead us into final thoughts from you. On what you've seen so far with up early to say. Sure I think the opportunity that the cynicism head as attorney general it is what the mayors and lewd and you. He he show great support for the law enforcement community and he shelled and understanding for time when community based policing. That is one of the big dividing things that's occurring currencies especially. In our communities of color. If he could bring that together and support of community based policing. In support of law enforcement who will hear him when he's thing is we got a hold you accountable as whale. That will be moving the country full. He has that opportunity. I'm encouraged that people take advantage. I think I would like to hear in afternoon. Just. Our our our politicians understand this is the person we need to support because he has an opportunity. He has an opportunity to do something that maybe the president let him do. Based on the rhetoric on the campaign trail of because he he clearly came prepared to get the support of law enforcement. And now the next step he is can he bring law enforcement communities the together and that's a big. Divider right now for the country.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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