A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, January 29, 2023 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC "THIS WEEK" ANCHOR: Shocking, sickening video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn, I didn’t do anything.
RADDATZ: Graphic body camera footage showing police officers beating Tyre Nichols as he pleads for help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom!
RADDATZ: Amid protests and renewed calls for police reform, will anything change?
CROWD: Shut it down!
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They should pass the George Floyd Act. We should get this under control.
RADDATZ: The latest from Memphis. Plus, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, former Ferguson Police Chief Jason Armstrong, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Mistakes were made. And I take full responsibility.
RADDATZ: Another case of classified documents found at former Vice President Mike Pence's home. Are America's most sensitive secrets secure?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’ve got a broken system.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): What the hell's going on around here?
RADDATZ: All the fall-out this morning with House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner.
RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIR, RNC: The Democrats are going to hear us in 2024.
RADDATZ: Ronna McDaniel re-elected as RNC chair, as Donald Trump hits the 2024 campaign trail.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And I'm more angry now, and I'm more committed now than I ever was.
RADDATZ: All the week's politics with our powerhouse roundtable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s THIS WEEK. Here now, Martha Raddatz.
RADDATZ: Good morning, and welcome to THIS WEEK.
It is hard to find words strong enough to describe the horrific video showing Tyre Nichols beaten by Memphis police officers. The 29-year-old, unarmed, supposedly stopped for a traffic violation, shoved, dragged, repeatedly kicked in the face, punched, tased, pepper sprayed, and pummeled with a police baton, all while crying out for his mother.
The police videos, more than one hour long, show it all. The violence, profanity, and appalling lack of humanity from the officers as they fist bump one another while Nichols lay motionless and bleeding on the pavement.
Tyre Nichols died in the hospital three days later.
The video evoking the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers more than 30 years ago. So far, nationwide protests have remained peaceful, and Nichols' family has praised the swift action taken against the officers as the family mourns their loss.
But what now? What will change? We'll look at all that this morning, beginning with ABC's Stephanie Ramos in Memphis, who brings us the latest on the police video, the arrests, the fallout, and what comes next.
Good morning, Stephanie.
STEPHANIE RAMOS, CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martha.
The family of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols hopes his death is a catalyst for change in this country. Just last night, Memphis police announced they were disbanding the street crimes unit known as the Scorpion Unit. That is the group the five officers charged in Nichols’ death belonged to. It's one of many moves the family pleaded for.
Again, we do want to warn you, some of this video you're about to see is disturbing and graphic.
CROWD: What’s his name? Tyre Nichols. What’s his name? Tyre Nichols.
RAMOS (voice over): Renewed calls for police reform during largely peaceful protests this weekend after the release of harrowing body camera footage showing the beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.
On January 7th, at 8:25 in the evening, what should have been an ordinary traffic stop immediately escalated when Memphis police officers pulled over Nichols and dragged him out of his car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn, I didn't do anything.
RAMOS: Officers tackling him to the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are really doing a lot right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, lay down.
RAMOS: Nichols wrestles free and sprints away. Seven minutes later, police catch up with him at a second location. We can hear and see Nichols complying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.
RAMOS: Nichols then yells for his mom. Her home, about 100 yards away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom! Mom!
RAMOS: The 67 minutes of footage shows several angles of the violence and aggression officers used toward Nichols, repeatedly kicking him, punching him in the face while his hands are in handcuffs behind his back, and hitting him with a baton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch out, I'm going to baton the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
RAMOS: Five officers beat him for nearly three minutes before more arrive on scene. But it takes roughly 20 minutes before any provide Nichols with medical attention or aid. Three days later, Nichols died at the hospital.
This week, just 16 days after his death, all five officers fired and facing felony charges, including second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping and assault. Nichols' family asking for accountability for all involved.
RODNEY WELLS, TYRE NICHOLS’ STEPFATHER: I feel that everyone there should be charged from both scenes.
Paramedics that came out that stood around and didn't do anything, they're just as guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, stand up, bro.
RAMOS: Nichols' family calling for the creation of Tyre's Law in Tennessee, which would require officers to intervene if they see crimes committed by a fellow officer.
CHIEF C.J. DAVIS, MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: I believe there was a – a sense of groupthink in – in – in the mentality of – of what was happening. And it's just very unfortunate that nobody stepped forward to say, enough.
RAMOS: Nichols' mother and stepfather telling ABC News, Tyre was a peaceful and charismatic man. Here’s their message this weekend.
ROWVAUGHN WELLS, TYRE NICHOLS’ MOTHER: I want people to see that police officers are still brutalizing young black men. I want people to see that we still have a long way to go.
RAMOS: Despite the body camera footage, it's still unclear why Nichols was pulled over in the first place. Police initially said it was for reckless driving, but the police chief told ABC News they haven't been able to verify that in any video.
Now, attorneys for two of the former officers say their clients intend to plead not guilty. Attorneys for three of the other officers have not commented.
RADDATZ: Our thanks to you, Stephanie.
Joining me now is the attorney representing Tyre Nichols' family, Ben Crump.
Thanks for joining us this morning, Mr. Crump.
And – and I want to start by asking you how Tyre's family is doing. I know you spoke to them just moments ago.
BEN CRUMP, TYRE NICHOLS' FAMILY ATTORNEY: It's still very emotional. His mother is having problems sleeping. But she continues to pray with the understanding, as she believes in her heart, Tyre was sent here for an assignment and that there's going to be greater good that comes from this tragedy.
RADDATZ: And – and speaking of trying to make changes, the Scorpion Unit, as Stephanie just mentioned, has now been disbanded. Do you think the officers being part of that unit contributed to this?
CRUMP: We certainly do. We know that there were other members of the community that had been assaulted by this Scorpion Unit. One young man who said he was assaulted just four or five days before Tyre was killed, simply going to get pizza, Martha. He said they attacked him, pulled him out the car, yelled profanity at him and put a gun to his head. And he tried to report them twice to the Memphis Police Department. His calls were not returned. And it is our belief that just maybe had they paid attention to him that Tyre Nichols may not have been killed in this tragic manner.
RADDATZ: I – I know you want more reforms. Tyre's Law. There were already reforms in place in Memphis, in particular a requirement to de-escalate or intervene if another officer is using excessive force. And yet you saw those officers, the brutality, the profanity, the lack of humanity. How does that happen?
CRUMP: You know, as I've said, I believe it's part of the institutionalized police culture that makes it somehow allowed that they can use this type of excessive force and brutality against people of color. And it doesn't matter if the officers are black, Hispanic, or white, it's part of the culture, this biased culture that said this is allowed.
And so just as much as those officers are responsible for the death of Tyre Nichols, so is the implicit, biased police culture that exists in America.
RADDATZ: So you believe there was racial bias towards Tyre, even though all five of those officers who have been charged with second-degree murder are black?
CRUMP: Absolutely, because when you think about it, as I've said previously in my 25 years of doing this civil rights law all across America, Martha, it is not the race of the police officer that is the determinant factor whether they're going to engage in excessive use of force, but it is the race of the citizen. And oftentimes, it's the Black and Brown citizens that bear the brunt of the brutality.
You don't see videos of our White brothers and sisters who are unarmed having this type of excessive force levied against them. I mean, think about all the videos we've seen, Martha --
RADDATZ: Back to Rodney King.
CRUMP: Rodney King.
RADDATZ: So, how do you change that culture?
CRUMP: Well, you know, a big part of it is what we talked about with President Biden when he called the parents of Tyre Nichols. I asked the president to use this opportunity when America saw that horrific video -- because we talked to him before the video, to marshal back in the United States Senate and have Senator Cory Booker, Senator Schumer put the George Floyd Justice in Policing back on the table, and then talk to Leader Hakeem Jeffries and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and have the House also push efforts to get police reform because without federal police reform, I think we're going to continue to see these hashtags proliferate so much, Martha, that we can't keep up with them.
RADDATZ: Okay. Thank you, and we will be talking to Dick Durbin in just a minute and ask him those very questions. Thank you so much.
CRUMP: Thank you, Martha.
RADDATZ: As Memphis Police Department comes under intense scrutiny, we want to bring in Apex, North Carolina Police Chief Jason Armstrong. He previously led the police force in Ferguson, Missouri, after it was overhauled in the wake of Michael Brown's fatal shooting in 2014.
Good morning, Chief. Thanks for joining us.
I know this video is incredibly upsetting to you. Tyre didn't have a weapon. He was pleading for mercy. There were more than five officers against one man.
How can officers get so out of control?
CHIEF JASON ARMSTRONG, APEX, NC POLICE DEPARTMENT: My answer to that question is I don't know. Watching that video -- you know, my heart breaks for Tyre. My heart breaks for his family.
But what I saw on that video wasn't policing. What I saw in that video were individuals that were, you know, intent on imposing their force and their domination on an individual, and it was uncalled for.
RADDATZ: As we have said, reforms have been made in police departments. They were even enacted in Memphis in 2020. So can reforms and police training prevent this? Memphis says they had training.
ARMSTRONG: I do believe reforms and training can prevent this, but the number one deterrent to this is when police officers around the country see what's going to happen to them when they participate in behavior such as this, and so these individuals were fired. These individuals were charged appropriately for their actions.
Similarly, what we saw happen in Minneapolis with Derek Chauvin and his actions, and officers around the country seeing that this type of behavior is not going to be tolerated by law enforcement. It's not going to be tolerated by the communities that they serve.
RADDATZ: But they have already seen what happened to a Derek Chauvin, and this happened. And they were wearing body cameras, yet they still behaved this way.
ARMSTRONG: Yes, and luckily, they were wearing body cameras and we had the evidence, you know, in hand to hold them accountable, you know, for their actions.
One of the things that I look at, and we talk about when it comes down to this is at the end of the day, no matter what piece of equipment you give an officer, no matter if you have a body camera on them or people are watching, at the end of the day, you know, these are people. These are human beings.
And when faced with, you know, whatever circumstances they're being faced with, they're going to make decisions that automatically come to mind to them or what are natural to kick in for them. Unfortunately, violence is what was natural for these individuals in this instance.
And that's what we have to do as a better job as law enforcement leaders is identifying these individuals that are inside our organizations and our police departments, and getting them out of the profession before something like this happens. And that's where the reforms really have to take place, and that's where the reforms can really have an impact.
RADDATZ: And, Chief, as we've noted, all five officers charged with second-degree murder are Black. You just heard Ben Crump say there is still racial -- racial bias, and also this is institutional police culture.
ARMSTRONG: We see that racial bias across all forms. It's not just in policing. That's -- that’s just something that our society deals with, unfortunately in this country. There have been plenty of studies, there are plenty of bias tests that -- that people can take. And when you look and analyze the data from those tests, it shows that most people have a – a bias and a bias in particular towards black and brown individuals in this country, no matter if you’re white, black, Hispanic, just like Mr. Crump illuded to. And we continue to – to see that.
And so, knowing that we have these biases that we all carry around with us, and when we talk about the implicit bias trainers and things, it's not -- no training is going to – to completely dissipate someone's bias that they have in them. You know, what we're hoping individuals can learn is identifying their biases so they learn better to work within them to whether they're not having a negative impact on somebody else. And we have to take that emotion that we're all dealing with right now, and we have to turn that into fuel and fuel that will lead us to see some change in this country.
RADDATZ: Thank you so much for your thoughts this morning, Chief. We really appreciate it.
ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Martha.
RADDATZ: Now let's bring in the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dick Durbin.
Good morning, Senator.
What was your reaction to the video of Tyre Nichols?
SEN. DICK DURBIN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIR, MAJORITY WHIP & (D) ILLINOIS: Heartbreak. It was horrible. Inhumane. My heart goes out to the Tyre Nichols’ family to think that their son went through this. And it just tells us that we live in an age now, with video cameras and with DNA evidence where our system of justice and law enforcement is under greater scrutiny, as it should be.
I’d say this -- make sure it's a record too, and that is the vast majority of law enforcement that I know and work with and talk to find the scenes in Minneapolis with George Floyd and this situation in Memphis with Tyre Nichols absolutely terrible. There's no defense by the good and able people who do defend us every day.
But this is a call for all of us to really be honest about the situation. I'm chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We do many pieces of legislation. I think of the police reform package that Senator Booker was working on with Senator Scott. It had many elements in it that are important, banning chokeholds, dealing with no-warrant searches, dealing with accreditation of police departments. It's necessary that we do all these things, but not sufficient. We need a national conversation.
RADDATZ: Senator, I want a -- aside from that conversation, you have called passing police reform in Congress a personal priority. You’ve been in Congress 40 years. You were there when the Rodney King video came out in '91, spoke about how horrific it was then, and yet there really has not been anything passed that would prevent this.
DURBIN: Understand that law enforcement by and large is a state and local responsibility. That does not absolve us. Under the federal constitution, we have standards, due process standards and others, that we are responsible for. But we need a national conversation on this. We do not need denial or willful indifference. And I think it will include the elements that I mentioned earlier but be larger in scope. We've got to talk about keeping America safe, but doing it in a humane, sensible, rational fashion.
RADDATZ: Republican Senator Tim Scott, who you mentioned, blamed Democrats were squandering an opportunity to pass those reforms you talked about. Both parties did agree on those in 2021, like banning chokeholds and increased mental health resources. Why not pass what was already agreed upon? Isn't something better than nothing?
DURBIN: It's the right starting point. And Senator Booker, chairman of the Crime Subcommittee, has been working on this for years. I think he and Senator Scott should sit down again quickly to see if we can revive that effort.
But that in and of itself is not enough. We need a national conversation about policing in a responsible, constitutional, and humane way. These men and women with badges put them on each day and risk their lives for us. I know that. But we also see from these videos horrible conduct by these same officers in unacceptable situations. We've got to change this for the better.
RADDATZ: And – and, Senator, we've talked about the fact that the Memphis Police had already implemented reforms after the George Floyd killing, including a requirement to de-escalate or intervene if they saw others using excessive force. Aside from this conversation, how do you change that culture?
DURBIN: By screening, by training, by accreditation to up the game so that the people who have this responsibility to keep us safe really are stable and approaching this in a professional manner. What we saw on the streets of Memphis was just inhumane and horrible.
I don't know what created this -- this rage in these police officers, that they would congratulate themselves for beating a man to death. But that is literally what happened.
RADDATZ: And there are calls for a federal investigation into the entire Memphis Police Department, not just this specific incident. Do you think that should happen?
DURBIN: I would not rule that out. But I would say that we have to be honest about this, when it happens in Minnesota when it happens in Tennessee, and it happens on the streets of Chicago. We've got to be very honest about it. There are good policemen out there risking their lives for us, but there are those who should not be on the force and are just not made for the job, and we see their prejudice.
One of the things we insisted on and worked toward was diversity in the ranks, and yet Memphis has called that into question. So let's get down to the basics here in terms of the protection that Americans want to have in their communities, and let's be honest about the real situation, which Ben Crump described earlier.
RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much for joining us this morning, Senator. We appreciate it.
Coming up, with all the high-profile cases concerning the mishandling of classified documents, we take a closer look at how the system is actually supposed to work.
Plus, House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner joins us live. We're back in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: During the closing days of the administration, when materials were boxed and assembled, some of which were shipped to our personal residence, mistakes were made. We were not aware of it at the time, until we did the review just a few short weeks ago, but I take full responsibility for it, and we're going to continue to support every appropriate inquiry into it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Vice President Mike Pence talking about the discovery of classified material at his home in Indiana. Pence joins Presidents Biden and Trump in what's becoming a growing list of top U.S. officials accused of mishandling classified material. But we wanted to set aside the political swirl for a moment and take a look at how classified material should be handled.
How is it transported? Where is it read? And who is ultimately responsible for material that could have profound importance?
RADDATZ (voice over): America's secrets are vast. More than 50 million documents, images and operations classified every year, from sophisticated aerial surveillance to communications intercepts, inside info on foreign leaders, and those human assets, spies helping U.S. efforts around the globe.
SUSAN GORDON, FORMER PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: At our core, what we're protecting is a human, and I have felt it. I -- I have seen information that I knew, if it were revealed, it would put people's lives at risk.
RADDATZ (voice-over): Sue Gordon spent her entire career in intelligence, from the CIA to the DNI, and takes security very seriously.
RADDATZ: A president and a vice president, or a defense secretary, who needs to read classified information, how should that happen if it's not in the building where they work?
GORDON: In many cases, there will be a Sensitive Compartment Information Facility, a SCIF, built in their home so that it is protected, and so it's protected electronically and it's protected physically as well.
RADDATZ: A SCIF, like this one that the Iranians proudly showed us a few years back in the former U.S. embassy in Tehran. "The glassy room for top secret negotiations" is what they now call it. They're not wrong.
GORDON: Iran is a great example. Hopefully, they don't know all the ways that we protect information.
RADDATZ: Mark Zaid is a national security lawyer whose clients deal with anything from documents marked confidential to top secret.
MARK ZAID, NATIONAL SECURITY LAWYER: The U.S. government has said for decades that we classify way too much information, and every time, there -- every few years, there's some effort to try and fix this, and every few years, it fails.
RADDATZ: Biden, Trump, and Pence aren't the first high level officials to be accused of mishandling classified information. There's Hillary Clinton's email scandal in 2016, and CIA Director John Deutch who lost his security clearance for keeping classified information on his home computer.
Perhaps the most egregious, former national security adviser Sandy Berger who was accused of trying to destroy incriminating evidence before testifying to the 9/11 Commission.
ZAID: He goes to the National Archives and starts stuffing them in his pants and his socks, gets caught by Archive staff, runs down the street, and like crumples up the paper and throws them into a construction zone and gets caught.
RADDATZ: When the president packs up to leave the Oval Office, he and his staff must hand over all classified material to the National Archives.
But do you see that more of a problem with how the material is dealt with from a national security level or their problem?
ZAID: So, it's a little bit of both I would say. I mean, at the end of the day, individual responsibility matters.
RADDATZ: That packing process and the entire system of classifying material and handling it now under scrutiny.
GORDON: Well, there's a lot more information, a lot more people. I think it's a really good time to look so see whether we are doing those things as well as we would want to.
RADDATZ: And we're joined now by the new chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Turner.
It's great to see you this morning, Congressman.
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Thank you.
RADDATZ: We had Joe Biden find documents and now Mike Pence, even though he told our David Muir back in November he didn't have any classified material. They're all very different from Donald Trump's case. But what's your reaction to the Pence discovery?
TURNER: Well, it's just really astounding because it shows there's really a systemic problem here on the administration handling side of both the vice president's office and the president's office. And as you know, the process of classifying documents is uniquely under the president, and by the Constitution, Supreme Courts ruled that they have the ability to classify and declassify. So, you would think there that the handling of these documents would be even that much more secure.
RADDATZ: And last week, you called President Biden a serial document hoarder and said he would only have classified documents at his residence to show them to somebody.
Do you have the same concerns now about Mike Pence?
TURNER: Well, in all these instances, the concern is that this information would be given to someone else, and would be accessed by someone else. That's why it's classified. That’s why it's a grave concern as to the manner in which this is handled.
With Biden -- with President Biden, when he was vice president and also senator, you have him over, you know, a series of decades taking classified documents home, including what we're learning now is his own notes from classified sessions and briefings.
I can't imagine, which is what I said before, I can't imagine a circumstance where anyone would believe that they need to have them in their home, and he clearly was taking them repeatedly on the train and back home and, you know, putting them in boxes in his garage. That -- that repeated action is certainly concerning, but the overall arching --
RADDATZ: Do you have any evidence that it was a repeated accent (ph)?
TURNER: -- that these are classified --
RADDATZ: Sir, do you have any evidence --
TURNER: You know and you reported --
RADDATZ: -- or any facts about the train for instance?
TURNER: What you actually have reported yourself that some of these documents relate back to when he was a senator, and some of these documents relate to -- to the time when he was vice president. That's over several decades and over a great deal of time. And he famously tells us he was on the train going from Washington, D.C. to his house.
We know that he didn't just fly there on their own. He would have had to have taken them. And having done so over a series of decades, certainly, is of concern, because it's a practice.
But the point that you're making which I think is the one we need to focus on is that these classified documents contain information that we don't want anyone else to see, that we don't want anyone else to know because they put at risk our country, they put at risk -- as you reported, a great report, by the way -- about the concerns of classified documents that these actually put people's lives at risk who are working to try to protect our country and to keep our secrets safe.
RADDATZ: And I just want to go back to the train because I certainly didn't report that he did that on the train. Do you think that Mike Pence brought those documents to his home just the same way you're saying that Biden did, or we just don't know?
TURNER: Well, we don't know because -- but what we do know is that the vice president has said that he was not involved in the packing of these, that they were transported to his house after he was vice president. We don't know.
Obviously, the chain of custody in each of these issues is going to be important. It certainly should be part of the Department of Justice's investigation. How did these documents get where they were going, and where we ultimately found them, but also what happened to them in the interim? How did they get into the hands of both the vice president/senator, President Biden, the Vice President Pence and, of course, President Trump? How did they get into their hands and then how did they get to where we ultimately found them?
RADDATZ: And, Congressman, does Congress have a role in reviewing this? Do you think things are overclassified? What -- what would you like to see happen from your end?
TURNER: Right. I think things are overclassified. I mean, there's -- unfortunately, Congress doesn't have the ability to declassify. There are things that I think need to be out in the public discourse.
We certainly saw a shift in policy with respect to Ukraine and Russia where the government declassified information so people could talk about what Russia was doing, and what they were doing in Ukraine. I think it's incredibly important for allies of the United States to openly discuss the information that we have.
But there’s one development last week that I think is going to be very important was when Senator Warner and Marco Rubio came together and jointly chastised the Department of Justice for their lack of being forthcoming with the respect to these documents that are being found.
We were told that we were going to have these documents available to us to review. Now, the Attorney General Garland, the Department of Justice is saying they're not going to allow Congress to review these documents.
They have no ability to prevent us. Congress has subpoena power, and its ability to compel the administration is absolute. They don't have an ability to say under the Constitution or a statute, we have an ongoing investigation, therefore, now we can't tell you.
I think it only makes everybody concerned about what are they hiding and why are they trying to keep it from Congress. You're going to see bipartisan, bicameral support to force Attorney General Garland to make these available to Congress so that we can take a look at what happened, what's in these documents, and what does Congress need to do to protect America's secrets?
RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much for that, Congressman. We appreciate you joining us.
Coming up, Donald Trump made his debut on the 2024 campaign trail last night. The powerhouse roundtable weighs in next.
RADDATZ: The roundtable is here, ready to go.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This is about the beginning, you know? This is it. We're starting. We're starting right here as a candidate for president.
This campaign will be about the future. This campaign will be about issues. Joe Biden has put America on the fast track to ruin and destruction, and we will ensure that he does not receive four more years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Donald Trump making his first campaign stops of the 2024 race yesterday.
Let's bring in our roundtable.
Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator Karen Finney, former Ohio Governor John Kasick, “New York Times” opinion contributor Jane Coaston, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Welcome to everyone.
We are going to get to the politics in a minute.
But, Jane, I – I want to start with Tyre Nichols.
Democrats and Republicans blamed each other after the federal police reform efforts spurred by George Floyd's murder fizzled out.
Is – is there any chance that there will be action now? You heard everyone talking about that this morning.
JANE COASTON, NEW YORK TIMES OPINION CONTRIBUTOR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think that it's indicative of the state that we're in, that we do have another opportunity for potential reform. It's important to remember that policing is generally a local and state responsibility. Federal law is generally not involved with policing. But I think it's time again to start talking about eliminating qualified immunity, not just for police officers, but for government employees.
RADDATZ: Which was the sticking point (INAUDIBLE).
COASTON: Which was the major sticking point. And I remember when I talked to Tim Scott a number of years ago and he said that eliminating qualified immunity was a no-go zone for Republicans, but I think it’s time to talk about the fact that we’ve seen in time and time again, these officers were fired, but we’ve seen in other cases in which officers have been fired after committing egregious offenses against individuals, and then they've been rehired, often given back pay, or even given pay for their injuries, their moral injuries, after having hurt someone else.
COASTON: It's time to talk about it again. It's a -- it should be a bipartisan concern that people who are given weapons by the state, are weaponized by the state, then injure individuals and are permitted to do so, and because of the Supreme Court ruling in the mid-1980s, they continue to be able to restrict the civil liberties of other people.
And I think that this is a moment which we -- we need to talk about it again. I think that we're at a point in which people recognize just how dangerous policing can be to police, but also just how dangerous police can be to individuals. And it's time to have this conversation again.
RADDATZ: And, Chris, going back to the qualified immunity, that was the sticking point. Democrats wanted it. Republicans did not. Can they get past it?
CHRISTIE: Look, I think it's going to be hard to get past it. I -- you know, but if there are two people who can do it in the Senate, I think having Tim Scott and Cory Booker be the two guys who try to do it, are the right choice, because Tim is a guy who I think has great powers of persuasion over a number of the folks in his caucus. And Cory has the experience, I know personally from being a big city mayor, where there was significant violence, he did some significant police reform himself when he was mayor of Newark. We did it together when I was governor.
And so I think those two guys are the right two guys to have it. I think it's going to be hard, Martha, if that becomes --remains the sticking point. There's a lot of good things in that bill that should become law. And so the question is how are they going to work it?
RADDATZ: Chokeholds, and what we were talking about.
CHRISTIE: Yeah, a lot of important things. So I don't -- I worry, a little bit, about being completely caught up just on that one issue and throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
RADDATZ: And, Karen, you did polling on this very issue in 2018...
RADDATZ: Even white, suburban women who were Trump supporters were in favor.
FINNEY: Yes. We very intentionally went out and talked to white, suburban Trump supporters. And we just read them the language from the George Floyd Justice in Policing act, no -- with no political language around it -- to say, and overwhelmingly people agreed.
And what they said was, "You know, I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad." And I do -- and they also said, "Yes, everybody should be held accountable. So I think that's the other part of this as American citizens. We have to acknowledge our own responsibility.
But the second thing I wanted to touch on is something that you were asking your other guests, and that is we know from the Civil Rights movement, you can't just change law. You have to change hearts and minds. And anti-black racism is everywhere. We know that. That is part of the training that these officers receive, that black and brown equals danger. We see it. We have to acknowledge this comes at a time when the governor of Florida says no African-American AP classes, when we have demagoguery around Critical Race Theory, when the truth is we have to be willing to have hard, truthful conversations in this country. And all of us have to be a part of that or it's not going to change. It's not going to be enough to just change policy.
RADDATZ: And, Governor Kasich, you were governor of Ohio when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland police officers. Reforms were made. That's something that I keep going over and over, too. Reforms have been enacted in states, and yet this happened.
KASICH: Well, things have -- have improved in my state. Look, we put together a police and community collaborative. I did it with a number of African-American legislators, women in particular. We have standards now that people have to -- cops, police, have to understand what the standards are. They train for the use of force, the use of deadly force. There's data that is involved in looking at what police are doing out there. In addition to that, when you look at these cases, these departments, these agencies have to constantly monitor what police are doing.
RADDATZ: And that's a good point. Memphis has reforms. Memphis has training.
KASICH: But I've got to tell you. Apparently, this -- this group of officers had been involved in things that had happened before. You see, the departments have to constantly monitor. They've got to see what happens at these traffic stops by looking at the cameras in the cars. There are many ways in which you can stay on top of it. It's not just enough to get somebody in there and train them. It has to be consistently monitored. And if you have a bad actor in there; if you have somebody that is not a good policeman, you've got to get rid of them. You have to take the action.
And in my state, I have to say, we had -- we had African-Americans and white, you know, gun people. We had a whole collection of people. We had the most significant reforms in the country come out of that collaborative. And it's made a difference in the State of Ohio.
RADDATZ: Karen wants to -- Karen wants to jump in.
FINNEY: I just want to say, but, to your point, Governor, we also have to have accountability around those reforms.
FINNEY: I mean, that's the other part of this. If we're going to say there's reforms, where was the accountability in Memphis around -- if we're going to say...
KASICH: They didn't have it.
FINNEY: Clearly, and that -- then that's part of the problem. And again, most Americans agree that it is -- we teach our children we are all accountable for our actions. Our police officers should be as well. And we also have to take a step back and rethink what is community safety?
There are parts of what police are being asked to do that they should not be doing. And we need to make investments in the other parts of what a safe community really looks like.
RADDATZ: And -- and, Jane, I want to go to you on this, the bodycam thing. It's extraordinary. It's...
COASTON: They were aware they were...
RADDATZ: They knew they had body cams.
COASTON: They were aware.
RADDATZ: They knew, all these police. What does that tell you?
COASTON: We have seen -- we have seen, time and time again. We saw this in the case of Tony Timpa, for example, a couple of years ago, a man who died on camera while police laughed at him. And he was white, and -- because police brutality can happen to anyone. In many ways, this is a way in which people are policing and a way in which people are being policed, and how we perceive both of those groups.
But we've seen, time and time again, that so-called elite policing units, whether it's the Scorpion unit in Memphis, which was disbanded last night, or whether it's SWAT teams in the case of Breonna Taylor, whether it's these elite units in which they receive less oversight, in which it's the people who are the most excited to be on those units...
RADDATZ: It's an issue they've had in the military.
COASTON: It's an issue they've had in the military. It's the people who are most excited to be in those units that should likely not be on those units. And we've seen this again and again, in which people are told, "You are essentially a military force in a foreign country; it just happens to be in your own city. You can do whatever you want, and you'll get less oversight because you're part of an elite unit."
And we see, again, that these men were on camera. They were macing each other while beating this man to death while he was crying for his mother and they were laughing at him. And we've seen again and again that this has happened repeatedly, in which people have been on body cameras. They're aware that they're being filmed.
COASTON: But because they're part of these elite units, they don't think that they'll face accountability.
CHRISTIE: I think one of the things that we learned -- Camden, New Jersey, was the most dangerous city in America for about a decade. And we disbanded the entire police force and brought in a new one. And one of the things we did was not just what John was talking about before, which was use of force, use of deadly force, but turn it on its head. We taught police officers in that city skills for violence de-escalation, that when you encounter a situation, how do you de-escalate the violence rather than escalate it?
So I think it's really important that you do that as well. You need to arm police officers with skills not just to put in their heads, "Here's how you use violence."
RADDATZ: And over and over and over again.
COASTON: Exactly, exactly.
CHRISTIE: "And now, here's how you de-escalate a situation." And we had one that went viral across the Internet, where a guy was surrounded by five police officers in Camden. He was wielding a butcher knife. And they, through talking to him and using those skills, talked him into handing the knife over, and then they arrested him. We need to give police those skills as well.
KASICH: It's all part -- it's all, Martha, part of recruitment. It's part of training. And it's part of ongoing monitoring and holding them accountable.
RADDATZ: And screening.
RADDATZ: And screening who comes in.
KASICH: And when they get out of line, you have to act. This can work, but you have to have constant vigilance, in terms to these -- in terms of these agencies.
RADDATZ: I want to move on here just so we can get some 2024 politics in here.
Ronna McDaniel won another term as RNC chairman despite an 11th hour call for new blood from Ron DeSantis. They wanted an alternate nominee. And the New York Times interviewed one-third of the committee members, who said they would also like an alternative to Donald Trump to emerge.
What does that tell you about Donald Trump's standing right now?
KASICH: You know, he's -- well, I think he's fading. I've said that for a long time. But he probably still has -- I was talking to a friend of mine in New Hampshire yesterday, probably 25 percent to 30 percent support. You get a crowded field, he could come out of there; he could win, but he's never going to be president of the United States, thank God, he's not going to be that.
However, I mean, he's still a force in the party, but not as strong as a force. And his two appearances yesterday, both in New Hampshire and in South Carolina, were underwhelming. But just remember this. Donald Trump, somebody that I fought from the very beginning, is a vessel for people's frustrations and anger. And the person that can beat him will be somebody who is a vessel for something other than that, and maybe a vessel for hope. And so we may be looking at one of the people here.
RADDATZ: Chris, is he ever going to be president of the United States again?
CHRISTIE: Well, I've said -- I've said, over and over again, that he can't win a general election. And -- and that's not speculation. That's based upon the polling that I was privy to pre-the 2020 election, and what we saw actually happen in the 2020 election. And it's only gotten worse since then.
Then add to it what you saw happen in 2022, the election deniers losing across the country, bad candidates like Mastriano in Pennsylvania dragging the entire Pennsylvania ticket down in a historic way; Kari Lake, Blake Masters, Tim Michaels, Tudor Jones. We could go through the entire list, loser, loser, loser, loser, and I think Republicans are recognizing that.
RADDATZ: And, Karen, let’s -- let's talk about Joe Biden.
RADDATZ: Obviously, this mishandling of classified documents isn't helping him. Can he win again?
FINNEY: Absolutely, he can win again. Look. He has a very strong -- I’m always sort of reluctant to look into the future because as we know, anything can happen. And I put Donald -- Donald Trump back on the table because I don't ever want to take him for granted again.
CHRISTIE: Of course, you don't.
FINNEY: In 2016, let me tell you.
CHRISTIE: You have him on the table every minute.
FINNEY: I’ve got -- no, no, no, I’ve got the scars from 2016, Chris.
But sure. Joe Biden has a stellar record to run on. The economy is doing well. Look at how he -- you know, you know the list of accomplishments.
Wages are going up. The, you know, the manufacturing coming back. He actually has kept his promises on a number of things that matter to a number of parts of this country.
I think the key for he and Kamala Harris will be to run a race as a team, and to talk about how they will continue progress in this country. Obviously, it looks like he's going to lean into the economy, as he should, as part of his record.
FINNEY: And, you know, what can I just say -- you guys are laughing.
CHRISTIE: We are. We are.
RADDATZ: Very quickly, we got five seconds. We got five seconds. You're going to have to laugh afterward.
FINNEY: The Republican brand is very damaged by the Republicans in the Co -- in the House who are letting the crazies in their party run amok.
RADDATZ: Okay. I got to stop you right there. The hand's up. That's a really serious signal.
Thanks so much for joining us this morning.
Up next, he spent decades as one of the most prominent voices on American foreign policy, but his new book focuses on the threats at home. Richard Haass joins us on set.
Stay with us.
RADDATZ: We’re back with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, former adviser to four presidents from both parties, and author of the new book, "The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens."
It's great to see you, Richard.
You've spent decades in foreign policy, but in your new book, you write that the most urgent and significant threat to American security and instability are in the political divisions at home.
RICHARD HAASS, COUNCIL OF FOREIGN RELATIONS PRESIDENT & AUTHOR, 'THE BILL OF OBLIGATIONS': Absolutely. If we don't begin to find a way to work together, we won't be able to meet our domestic challenges. We also won't be consistent and reliable as a foreign policy partner. And if we don't essentially have the bandwidth, we don’t have the unity here at home. There’s no way we’re going to be able to contend with China, Russia, climate change, or anything else.
RADDATZ: But – but how do you do that? You’ve seen the divisions. They are so vast. I mean who does this book really talk to? Who can you convince?
HAASS: I don't think we're necessarily going to find the solution in Washington, even though Washington is the problem. It might be religious leaders talking to their flock about not resorting to violence, about being open to compromise. Schools, why don't we start teaching civics? In Congress, though, there might be one answer, what about national service. Americans now lead such separate lives, Martha, divided by geography and class and education. Some form of national service might actually bring us together in certain ways.
RADDATZ: And I know a lot of people have tried for that for very many years.
One of your tenets, as you – as you mentioned, one of the ten tenets is staying open to compromise. There was gun legislation passed recently, but we've just had this horrible, horrible incident with Tyre Nichols. What about passing some sort of police reform with all these divisions?
HAASS: What it shows is that those with special responsibilities and powers in this society, like policeman, have special obligations. They have got to – they have got to meet that. I think reform -- we need to have a new compromise on guns. We're not talking about the extreme rights on either, you know, no limits, like pretty much we have now, or abolition. There’s got to be some restrictions on who can have guns, as well as what kind of guns. But that’s going to require far more Americans to get involved.
Right now, for example, the midterm elections, why was it that more than half of Americans did not vote? We have got to get more informed involvement on the part of American citizens. Politicians, at the end of the day, they will not responsive. They’re not always responsible, but they will be responsive.
RADDATZ: And – and this is not only a – a domestic obligation, but it really does, as you say, mean things around the world.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Dr. Haass.
We'll be right back.
RADDATZ: That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT," and have a good day.