'Across the ideological spectrum ... the violence needs to end': Wolf

Jonathan Karl interviews acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on "This Week."
13:06 | 08/30/20

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Transcript for 'Across the ideological spectrum ... the violence needs to end': Wolf
Every four years Americans come together to make a choice. We expect hard fought campaigns and we expect politicians. Telling us this is the most important election of our lifetimes. But with the conventions the just played out we saw something different. Democrats told us if the other side winds our democracy is over. Republicans said if the other side wins America is over all suggesting an apocalypse if they don't prevail on November 3. In the visuals of this week's Republican Convention we saw the world as Donald Trump wants it to be his name in fireworks over the Washington skyline. The White House South Lawn transformed into a celebration of all things trump. And his supporters shoulder to shoulder as if the pandemic had never happened. It isn't still killing about 1000 Americans a day. On the streets outside protesters offered their own visual reminder of the number on mentioned on the South Lawn. More than 180000. Americans. Killed by cove in nineteen. When it was over some of those protests turned ugly trump supporters taunted and threatened on their way out. And last night more violence in Portland clashes between protesters and troops supporters one person shot dead. Images Republicans are sure to point to as a precursor to light after a Biden victory. And at the Lincoln Memorial Friday marchers in the footsteps of Doctor King. Called for action to address a subject barely mentioned at the Republican Convention. Persistent racial injustice. After yet another black man was shot by a white police officer Jacob Blake shot in the back seven times. The president it would almost a full week without commenting but now says quote. I don't like the sight of it. Joining me now acting Homeland Security secretary Chad wolf. On distracted secretary thank you for joining us can you give us an update on what exactly happened. As you understand it in Portland overnight. What happened with the shooting. Who was killed. We're still latent obviously for that investigation to unfold. I do understand that there were a number of counter protest encounter groups. In Portland overnight night I think this points to a larger issue that we've seen in Portland for the last three months. And that is local and state officials not allowing law enforcement do their job it really to bring this violent activity night after night after night to a close. And so what as you see that continued to unfold. Over the the course of three months you're going to continue to see violent activity. And we've asked this governor we've asked the mayor to step then they don't have the resources president's been very clear on this as you know. We were happy to provide resources to bring this violence. To an end violence that again across the ideological spectrum left or right. The violence needs to end. So I saw the president was up in tweeting about this before 6 AM it's clearly front and center on his mind. Is he planning on doing something are it is our consideration. Of sending in more federal law enforcement even in the defiance of local leaders. Are. I believe all options continue to be on the table specifically as we talk about Portland what we've seen in Wisconsin. Minnesota and other places it is does governor stepping up calling in the National Guard the state National Guard. In many instances obviously Wisconsin rescinded a Department of Justice law enforcement officers as well. So we're talk about Portland again they continue to refuse. Federal any type of federal assistance to bring that violent activity going on promised ninety days now all over ninety days. To a close the citizens of Portland want this we need to bring some normalcy back to Portland. And again if the state and local officials won't do it they need to ask for assistance from the federal government. Does that do have a message of those troops supporters we saw operating in the Portland last night we've seen images. Of of apparent trump supporters seeming to fire paint balls at protesters. Up pepper spray what what what your message to to those groups well my message. Good to any individual to any group. If you gotta protest. First Amendment right and please do that peacefully. Once you cross the line to violence that is what's concerning to the Department of Homeland Security that's what I'm focused on making sure that we bring any type of violence and any of our cities to a close. Return to Kenosha. The world saw those images of Kyle written house. I'll holding eight and AR fifteen walking down the streets of Kenosha after he had just allegedly shot and killed. Two people shot and wounded another person. Odd it really nothing odd that no reaction from police she went right by police nobody attempted to apprehend him or anything. And that of course was just days after what we saw with Jacob Blake getting shot in the back seven times. As he tried to get into his car. I did to does that disparity watching the the just did very different treatment of of somebody who was white and somebody who is black by law enforcement bother you. Again the the circumstances are around that are being investigated are not committed in front of that what I will say. Is that if the governor had taken action early on after day one date to have some of that violent activity occurring there. We probably we could do was a lot of this could have been avoided unfortunately he acted a little too late I believe in the third or fourth tonight of this violence. He has taken a right action he has asked for federal law enforcement assistance. My message to all these local officials mayors governors in the white. Is if you see this activity. Take early action to bring law and order to your streets and we can address and really avoid some of its violent activity that. We're seeing what but again Kyle written house is there with an AR fifteen walking on the streets he is just allegedly shot three people. And the police don't even give them a second look. And I do you understand how people react to that especially after what just happened with Jacob Blake. Absolutely again I'm not on the streets there John I can't tell you what was going on that evening that night with police with this individual. That investigation is unfolding come at a let that play out before I comment specifically on it but again I think what this shows what this demonstrates. Is that local officials or governors need to take action early on to address these issues and we've seen on an a couple of other different cities and states. If they see violent protests occurring. You take early action you can address this and this is what most reasonable Americans want when they turn on their TVs. They want to see this violence night after night after night they want to see their local officials elected officials taking action. So I the president just a short while ago lights a tweet that said quote. Kyle written house is a good example of why I decided to vote for trump. Is the president is suggesting that this. By seventeen year old white man who who allegedly shot three people somehow. Or somebody to be celebrated. John that I haven't talked to the president about that I've not seen that week no let but the president the White House comment on that against what I'm focused on at the department is making sure that we're providing state and local officials. The intelligence and the information they need to make good decisions and if they don't have the resources are capabilities. To protect their communities they reach out to the department Department of Justice the federal government will provide them help and support. We we saw the president at the convention clearly making law and order the centerpiece of his reelection campaign I want to play something that he said that is. Last convention four years ago in his acceptance speech there. The attacks. On our police. And the terrors care of our city's. Threat. Our very way of life beginning on January 20. Of whiny seventeen. Safety. Will be re storage. I mean its first thought striking how it's almost exactly the same message at this convention but that he failed to keep that promise he said. Safety was going to be restored beginning on. January 20. Of 24070. Absolutely not but again what we see across cities and across states. State sorry local law enforcement first line of defense state law enforcement if both of those spell. And obviously the federal government can step in and we need that so we need that request from the state governors. Many of them have requested that and again and we go back to Portland. Reese the exactly how not to protect your communities it's a case study. On the wrong way to do this in ninety days of continued violence in that city. It can be stopped very quickly. You need to have some conviction and you need to bring in law enforcement do their job. After the president's. Supporters were were confronted by protesters Thursday night outside the White House. The president and several tweets and statements as suggested it he was gonna Sobel Lanier in one of the tweets he says to me your browser. On DC mayor browser should arrest these agitators and thugs clean up DC or the federal government will do it for you in off. What does he mean the federal government will do it for you what what does he have in mind is in DC. Well I think what's absolutely concerning is that individuals leaving an event at the White House cannot simply leave go to their vehicles are or wherever they might be going. That there cost it time and time again. So I think they're concerned there is making sure that again law enforcement do their job. That want you can protest peacefully. All day long all night long if you choose to once you cross that line of violent activity. Law enforcement needs to step in. We saw that back in early June. In DC were federal law enforcement came in the Department of Justice came in. When we have a number of rioting and looting occurring working with the metropolitan police department to address that very quickly. Again that's sort of again a little bit of a case study on how to do this correctly in other cities. I want to. Had turned to your role in the convention knew you'd obviously took part in that naturalization ceremony that was played. In a video at the convention. Did you know when you were there for that naturalization ceremony at the white house with the president that it was going to be played that night at the convention. Again naturalization ceremonies are what the department does we do hundreds if not thousands of them every year I partake I've participated in several of them. Not only with the president will with the vice president. So it's absolutely a legitimate role for the department to do. Again we do oh my across the nation I had I did one in Denver the day after. On Wednesday of this of this past week. Will continue to do that there was an official event that the White House would bring I was uploaded to a public YouTube channel anyone any individual organization or political party. Can pull down that video. And do with it as they wish so again but but but certainly legitimately ours. But it's a respectfully that was not my question my question was did you know when you took part in that ceremony that was going to be used that night at the Republican lunch. Now what I do is again participated in a naturalization ceremony we had a number of US CIS employees there. As they do you ever naturalization ceremony making sure that that ceremony goes off without a judge. There were giving that oath of allegiance to those individuals there again we'll continue to do that that's our mission at the department. OK La finally. A story that broke over the weekend the idea and I the Director of National Intelligence as saying. A no more in person briefings to congress. Including briefings on that the critical. Our question of foreign interference in our election isn't this a time when there should be more information share not less what is going on here. Absolutely not equipped. The Director of National Intelligence deals with the classified information. Providing that information to congress. He has seen I've seen and others have seen that information leak time and time again. And so what he indicated as he's gonna provide that information in those briefings to congress in a written and a finished intelligence product and continue to provide them the information that they need. To do their jobs on the other side what the department is focused on. Is making sure that we address any cyber threats regard regarding election infrastructure lot of the information the department deals with is on classified. Will continue to have in person briefings with members of congress and staff we have to of and set up this week. To continue to highlight the the work that the department is doing to make sure that we secure that election infrastructure. You have responsibility for protecting the integrity of this election are you seeing evidence more evidence new evidence of Russian interference. Yeah what we were again seen in the not only information about Russia but also China and Iran so. These are three nation states that we have been well where been tracking them for the last four years putting out a number of disinformation campaigns. To so discourse within the US not only in 2016 but obviously a 2018 elections. This is nothing new that that we're what you nets the departments on top of this working with our interagency partners the intelligence community and the like. K acting secretary of Homeland Security child wolf thank you very much for joining us this morning thank you.

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

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