AG William Barr discusses race and policing, Black Lives Matter, voter fraud and more

ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas goes one-on-one with Attorney General William Barr.
33:24 | 07/10/20

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Transcript for AG William Barr discusses race and policing, Black Lives Matter, voter fraud and more
First thank you. You're unity some outreach today meeting with community leaders including African American leaders and police what you hear from. We'll take it to mean messages. Word. Especially from the African American community leaders. Denied interest in the funding east if anything oh. Propelled professionals patients. Increase train. And also that their interest in Billings stronger connection between communities and police. Lot of support for community policing. And they one sees government promote. Community policing Moore. There's been a lot of reform in the policing. Sector the last few decades but as the event in Minneapolis tragically show. We need to do more. When. You talk with police what you hear from them. Here. Readiness. Two their complete understanding of the need. Two to improve training. And to improve standards. To hold people accountable. And you know readiness to demonstrate they're making changes bitterness there when you. The African American community. Room. The are important moment and do you think George. It. Companies are hoping is a catalyst for the current changes that are needed. You know those with senator can scum for a two day. And he made the comment that this is that it should be. Moments rights you know I think you. After Jim Crow up until June crow laws to comport with nor. Principles they were on their face an equal. Rules. Since then we've been trying to reformer institutions. And bring him in line aspirations and I think we've we've made progress. In this is journey continues. You mentioned defund the police. When we. Dig into that deeper many of them people who are applicants for they're saying they're not talking about taking way. Money for training war even higher salaries are saying some of the money needs to be moved to things like social. Studies and and programs like head start. Mental health services things like that things I think he'd you've advocated in the past because you said police were asked to do too much. Is there is there are some value in the notion of defund the police even are human like not. Network sales not because I don't think the money should come out of the police I mean we've been spending a lot of money trillions of hours ski decades. On things like education and social program so there has been a wilders will spend money and those kinds of things. But I think we have to think about more investment in the police no part of it as you say is the police are being called on to do more and more. Deal with mental illness deal with homelessness he deal with the drug addiction really don't have the training. And and the expertise sometimes to deal with it. So one of the things we've been talking about. I'm trying to direct some of the HA chance MoneyGram problems and syncing up with law enforcement spending so we can enable the department have quarter COLT called responders that is. Social workers mental health experts consulted with who couldn't go on certain kinds of cools the hope soon to be could be your against the funding police which year. Four enhancing some respects yet. What do you think we and the actions at this. I think before the that George Floyd. In Sudan and I Flow we were in. Good place. I thought that. Economic opportunities. Were expanding and he African American community was able to participate in ever Ford knows opportunities. And you know I think debt. This episode and then in Minneapolis. Showed that we still some work to do it in addressing. Did distrust that existing African. American community toward law enforcement. You know many African Americans we talk about how. They're treated as suspects persons citizen's second that to talk about being pulled over constantly by police has happened to me. In the circumstance where I didn't feel like it was fear. Senator Scott talked about being pulled over seven times when right. Does that speak to sit the systemic. I assume police and you said you don't think that exists. On preaching Yuma. No I mean by the word systemic how much for whether people means it's built into the system so the system. Inherently has this or whether they mean it's widespread. Issue. You know I do think did it is today. Our. And widespread. Phenomenon. That debt. African American. Males particularly are treated to lose extra suspicion and me being given the benefit of that is that wrong. I get well I think it is wrong if if if people are not respected appropriately treating given their due. And I think it's canned and and I think it's something to a grass you used the word earlier racial profiling so you. You believe it does exists. Well I mean it again that's that's a word that's used different ways by many people and I do think that. Depending on the area it's not all over the country but did there are some areas where law enforcement people. Why he and black police. May treat a suspect. Differently or someone based or be too ready to suspect someone. Based on their race I mean any any book any person. It doesn't like being singled in treating cheated. Differently if you try go through Europe airport checkpoint and they pick me up and say okay but you have to go over here and be sure she got this to let. It's it's it's it's sort of consulting and and it extrapolating from the you know I think that that is a phenomenon that's felt keenly in the African American community but I also think this is not. The I don't think that the African. American community. I has that. As the only view of police I think they value police and understand how important it is to have police because he's communities are the primary victims of crime the ones who. You know we have 8000 homicides. African Americans a year and that that is when you line and so I think they unity that you want strong police presence they want to build a stronger relationship with the community. In. Today. The president made some news he says that he thinks co. Do you share that belief you can grow a culture war. But in I think we've. To me just doesn't Rick really relate to the race issue I think there has been a cultural war in the United States for a long time using Warrenton at four cents. But I don't view that is connected to the race issue I think it has more to do it. Things like religion and traditional religious values things like that. The context he appeared to be using in a wannabe bench from being accurate in fear of the president he was saying things like that the removing the flag from NASCAR events hurt a lot of people. He this week reach weeded. Something worse someone's which yelling white power. You're down here today in Europe making up communion reached I spoke to three African Americans who were in the and they said to teach a Q a afterwards that you were sincere. This kind of rhetoric from the president is it helpful to what you're trying to do. Why haven't seen you know I haven't seen within the presidency and I think. When he was likely referring to her heart. Some of the things that people would feel were gonna come out writing about the NASCAR thing. From my standpoint has car it was a business decision by NASCAR and your private corporation. The private businesses they're entitled to make and his justice. And but you know there are some people who feel that some of our history is being raced you know Wendy's. George Washington and start defacing George Washington or Christopher Columbus or others. You know that's upsetting to people he and I would like to see us. Confront our history in the sense of you know not not. Tearing it down but acknowledging history and adding to your history. Receiver you're saying on George Washington Christopher Columbus. But. Again coming at this from the African American perspective but many people. Confederate. Statues honoring Li. Jefferson Davis people and epitomize or symbolize. Oppression. Slavery. People being treated like oh. For example if you drive down in Northern Virginia were early reviews arrived on the highway. There's Jefferson Davis. And some reference to African Americans say to me you know I'll really one on of those people they committed treason and they stood for. Racism and slavery. Do you think or you comfortable with or do you support the confederate statues being removed from some these landscapes. OI actually think. That way to handle it here in south clerk Caroline is the appropriate way to do it which is it was. Community decision going through the debate the process and they decided. You know change the flag or two to remove that aren't capitol grounds that had peeled confederate battle flag and I think the same is true statues. I think these are decisions that should be made through communities discussion. And appropriately deal is meant to reflect the will of the community but I don't think I'm mobs should go around tearing past actions. Can you give us the sins of your personal feeling refute if you feel comfortable sharing it do you personally like seeing those content such as which you prefer to see them. Confederate. Soldiers. Base is named after people who were former members of the kkk. Who's cooking some research. From on some the base is named after southern. Leaders. Not the kind of history that celebrate with the right I think. You know if I were king and making Upton. Some bases there are some people probably. Wouldn't honor. But again I think should be left to the community. In turned. Pattern and practice investigations. Department is on one word has been investigating one. Previous treatments trojans have done some is that good enough. And or you. Willing to use that tool in new to. Well I mean I think the Obama administration comparable time had done several. We and we here right now. Issuing our findings in lawn. Springfield. Police department and cheese with defiance. We found in that case it would there was drug unit in the Springfield police department. Was engaged in. A pattern practice using excessive force. And so. I believe as I said. I'm not adverse to using pattern and practice no. Into position. And enforcement tool. And but. I also feel that there are there sometimes are there ways of getting added rather than through using court consent decrees sometimes you can work with the east apartment in what ways. He threw contracts and other things to. Work with them to prove that particular problem you fine with Texas. Courts into it. And that has been successfully think. I sometimes these consent decrees contract again for a long time. You know become more checklists and purses. Factually real change at the end of the day. If we think something has to be changed Lebanese would have for tool we think this could be successfully accomplishing. Like laps matter. Is termed its news group which which war. Civil rights. African Americans. Which which your view. What I've matter. And are you willing to say. But make it just in I'd make a distinction between the organization which I don't agree. Agenda but. In terms of the proposition. Clockwise or. As I think. Little lines human life it is his sacred. And in paddled two. Respect and obviously. Matter but it also think that it's being used narrow. And it. Sort of distorting the debate to some extent because its use. Really refer exclusively. To plaque lives that are lost to police misconduct which. Our. You know have been going there and statistically. Five years ago they were forty such incidents. A this last year was tan so at least it's a positive trajectory here continue compare it to. 8000 homicides in Kenya African American community those are black clouds that are too. In and dozer lines are protected by police he think it's. It's a symbol of hate present some creep like craftsman. That strong. I don't create terror and have the situation. X critics head but I also think you know it's not just protecting life. It's cute it's also park lives matter in the sense. Ensuring that African Americans. Fully participate. In the benefits of this society and their lives flourished and I think he goes beyond. I just physical safety it coasts getting good education. Coast to having economic opportunities and they've been. You know this administration. Had record economic opportunity was the expansion in the workforce. And I think one of the I think the civil rights issue. Of our time. If we're talking about blacklist matters have been able the black lives in inner city schools are failing the people just seem willing to fail. Who work in the future. I think we need we now strong educational reform in this country. So that inner city parents. Are able to choose their children's school. And and I think that's as Condi Rice and the civil rights issue of our time so I think the black who lives matter. You know is has focused on a particular problem and it is a problem and its problem that at least trajectory has been improving. And they are ignoring I think these broader issues remain. Hundreds and hundreds of murders just in the last few weeks in the inner city no one seems to be talking. Made some news recently. Supporting the president's position concern about. Mayo in voting. And looking at some data. And we actually called every sectors state. In the country virtually. And none of them said it was issued concerned. On. Why is this issue that. You're concerned. Well you know even during my. If it wasn't he responding to the president's expression concerns had what was going through confirmation was very concerned that the integrity of elections because. I feel we're very divided country election results were close. In thing we have going for us is confidence in the shifted peace. Transfer of power source so it's really important we protect people's. Feelings of elections are conducted with integrity. And I think it's. Clear that bundling are not talking bad people around town. Over him otherwise make it to the pole and having the option and union I'm talking absentee voting yours. Well actually one of those I I actually did go to two vote. But. It wasn't by mail you know another area of concern obviously is the potential undue influence. It. Somebody collecting ballots could on the actual poker. I know in in New Jersey for example. One TV network found a number of people's cast their votes split. Report it to that network that they never received the ballot so I think there's a lot of opportunity from. It's just and that makes me concerned. Shouldn't we knew he'd making it easier for people to vote in the end people actually Fareed to go shoe store. And now this is an option that some people want to use as secretary of state say it's a Bible. You'll and work with them or you just against. I think the states have a lot of latitude as to what form of voting they're gonna have I'm expressing concerns revolve for. And I don't do think it increases the opportunity for us. Mr. stone is scheduled to. Report to prison I believe next week to line thirteenth or fourteen. You said earlier in previous human rights prosecution the east to believe that. Yes you know he was prosecuted. That was the attorney general I think the prosecution was righteous. He hand. I think that sentence that the judge ultimately gave who was fear. You rule call I objected to any. Seven to nine years and tricolor was very excess detergent. I think. Effectively agreeing with me in he absence of three years through three years of prison time. That he should get for these crimes. The president tweet it's something we can. About pardoning him hospital he my commute sentence on. Do you recommend that he do to that. And will you care fees commutes or pardons. I think it's the president's prerogative it's it's a unique power that the president had. Secretly hoping that is committed to his judgment. But as I say. I felt it was appropriate prosecution. But the sentence was fair. I think he said you're no fan. And I say that she did. It. Well that's accurate. Com. Michael foot. You. Basically you know you not think that that was. Based on the worked on the prosecute you look in to review tax. Room. To be twice. A two in open court twice the room. Concerned about the appearance. That the president Russians. Getting preferential tree. No because I think. He's a friends plural in the stone case who what I did there was left sentencing up to judge I didn't how advocate for sentence that I thought was twice. That should be. I thought that was the fear and just thing to do we left it to the judgment and she imposed the sentence that I actually thought was reasonable. So I don't think that was getting special benefit I think pat was champion treated fairly. You certainly don't want someone Cuban special benefits because of the present trend which also don't want treated more harshly because precedents Graham. On on the Flynn matter. Hi Heidi separate counsel coming in another US attorney very experienced and Adam. Look at it and he came back buttons that he didn't think anyone in the department. Would would prosecute a case or charge that case and in fact. The documents that have recently been released indicate to TF PRI felt he had not. And this was marked sweeter respond that they he didn't show signs that line. They said they didn't think she locked that he believed what he distinguish true. And there are a number of other facts here at the made us feel that that was not a case that met our standards prosecution. While you think he. With so willing to Ethiopian court. I don't speculated. That. Mr. Berman. Former. Use attorney for the southern district. He basically make clear. That he had no intention of resigning. He suggested that he was suspicious of you. Breaded the statement go out when it. That made it appeared that he was resigning when he in fact was was at a miscommunication what wanted to happen. Well who's you know. This was this was not a question of removing him because of any deficiency on his part. It was. The desire reported very Ammon in New York, New York lawyer and that position. The president had not appointed any one US attorney. The southern district of New York which is as you know one of the more important history department. And the chairman of the SEC who. People in the administration's. Outstanding. Outstanding work law firm. Hamas and the use interest in doing pack up to new York and disinterested in that position and so we were putting him forward for that position. When I and my intent was to try to do this amicably. And offered other positions to mr. Berman but he. Indicated that he was not going to step down. Now. President. It's their choice of could be US attorney is he didn't want to. Leave but I was trying to leave open the possibility of doing this amicable. Trying to arrange another position. Hand we put out a statement that evening that we're gonna nominee. Somebody else. But we wanted to leave open can make it clear to him that he was leaving the position. But then still leave it open. He could yet another position and would be done hammock a place we didn't say he was being fired. We said he was stepping down which is usually the language we use in these. These kinds of announcements but it left open the possibility it once he swollen that he was leaving position. That he. He's basically just it's misleading when Newt you're saying it was a notes. You. I don't know what he's describing him and seeing peace said publicly. But but it was not it was not misleading. Stepping down is a term that we news it's ambiguous as to what the basis forward is but it leaves open. The possibility of following pot and offering them another position I was sure. What which way he was an ego but it given the sensitivity of that. Certain investigations and worry include. Duke case which. It's been reported. Right now. It is not and waited until the wrecks were was is something the president wanted to do. At this point well I know I could certainly agreed with the president that this was an outstanding candidate unions and twisted in. And taking a run and it now and honey I felt that she when he knows the department knows it. Even if one were interest in trying to influence case you wouldn't do it by removing. The head the office that's simply not of the southern district of New Yorkers department as a whole operates so it's actually ludicrous and I felt it was simply not plausible. Basis for not making it changed so when the Democrats attack Q. They've been attacking pretty fiercely but when they say the president wanted to royko. He's got a that the department is not nearly independence should be with d.s. Well I know I could certainly agreed that the president that this was an outstanding candidate unions and twisted in. And taking a running and it now and I felt that she when he knows the department knows. Even if one were interest in trying to influence case you wouldn't do it by removing. The head office that's simply not on the southern district of New Yorkers department as the Hubble operates so it's actually ludicrous and I felt it was simply not plausible. Basis for not making a change there. So when the Democrats attacked you. They've been attacked and pretty hears the news and we don't read atlas. Now this isn't so but when they say president wanted to ruin. He's got that department is not nearly independence should be quick news. Well. Like them to point. Point a to finally be specific decision that they don't think. Showed that shows a lack of independence on the department. Now we're independence. Most important in. In fact essential is in the administration criminal justice the decisions to charge Pete are not charge people. And now am I T here are some examples of people we've charged they think. Righteous case is to bring. On hand. I haven't seen any specifics on. One you've packed news. I. The rising. NBC's. Room. New York the logo field Milwaukee. Talking about hundreds of deaths. In many communities. What do you plan do. The president recently said two. States and cities the federal government is ready willing and able to come in and help. We just received quest. Yesterday actually from Missouri governor misery in the city of Kansas City. They've had a serious spiking in crime cryptically murders. They're on pace to set all records emerge from the city. And so we we are going to go away and a four year old African American boy who had recovered recently from open heart surgery who was shot in the face while he was lying in bed and his name was legend and a so we're gonna launch operation legend in Kansas City. And again well over hundred. Federal agents. To augment the did agents we already here working with the state and local could go after the gangs that are responsible for us. Since you should we expect to see that in other cities Tuesday and they want to help. You very possibly yes and I saw the picture. It. What was the impact when you. Well. My daughter and open heart surgery comparable age. And I remember. How stressful Lewis for a fan. And the idea. When your child surviving that. And you know and he eventually would field this year can pull something like that in Manhattan shark steaks that it affected me. Yes. G Elaine. Maxwell. Is now in federal costs. A number when can you ensure. That she will make it to trial. And Jeffrey Epstein. Suicide situation. Room. Even locked in on the some extruded dozen years. You can you units as the which he told the people in charge. You know we we have asked in the tell us specifically the pro particles are funneling him a number of. Redundant. Systems to monitor the situation and how angry were used for its its. I was I was limit obviously I believe very strongly in case and I was pretty proud of the work done by the department the southern district on the case. And as you call. Oh after he committed suicide Ari. Says that I was confident that we would continue to pursue this case vigorously and pursue anyone who's complicit in and so I'm very. Happy that we were able to get its ax well. If there are other crew conspirators. And cumin form. Treated if they if they've been involved if they've been complicit in these crimes yes. NIC word department wants to talk to Prince Andrew. Do you think it's appropriate and do you wanna talk to. We'll definitely department wants to Prince Andrew that's why the southern district has been making efforts to communicate in to a range interviewed him. You want everybody evidence in connects Olympic X yes. Right now such a critical moment in terms of perceptions. And June 1. In a wave the crowd was removed. From Lafayette park. That period. Do you have in hindsight inning concern. With the way it was conduct I've been looking at frame by frame of video. A sub munitions used on people who were significant to Sicily our sorrow Qatar news on journalists. The overwhelming majority of the crown as far as I could tell. Was not to speeding and anything violent. Home. In hindsight. It was at the best we've Helms that you which. Well I think that these the plan of action who was too. Not experience another night of rioting we've gone through three nights of writing had been fired shouldn't have been. Here ninety federal officers injured including some serious injuries. Over three nights of rioting fires right here in the White House clocks essentially. And we were determined that and going to go on for a fourth nights for the idealist to move the crowd Barack. And part of what was happening was that the park police were named in its offense so we wouldn't have these kinds for difficulties going forward. And who wanted to move from. Before the evening and also. Would would there were enough trained personnel to properly I think Louis. What was done I think that the park police the Secret Service carried out. And their view us it was. Perry rowdy crowd very much like the crowds from three proceeding nights they were concerned. So you think it was appropriate community none and comfortable with what you saw up. And in terms. Three photo op. Was it done because of that just flat was done because the president was going to go over the market have a phone rock was that didn't play a role at all it. WUPD. A plan was to move. The demonstrators. Toward artistry. To take the pressure off the lofty and it's so that mafia could peak. Fencing could be improved. And the crown can be pushed back away from the north part of Austria that's why it was too non. It was not time to set up. Thank mr. Pritchett.

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

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