Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Attorney General Bill Barr defended his decision to forcibly remove protesters from outside of the White House last week, claiming on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that the media is lying about the protesters being peaceful and that there was no connection between the incident and President Trump's visit to St. John's Church.

Why it matters: Barr has faced calls for accountability over the use of irritants and smoke balls on protesters in Lafayette Park on Monday before Trump's photo op at St. John's. A number of reporters on the scene insist that the protesters were peaceful, but Barr called it "one of the big lies that the media seems to be perpetuating at this point."

  • "All I heard was comments about how peaceful protesters were," Barr said, referring to protests that had turned violent the previous day. "I didn't hear about the fact that there were 150 law enforcement officers injured and many taken to the hospital with concussions. So it wasn't a peaceful protest. We had to get control over Lafayette Park, and we had to do it as soon as we were able to do that."
  • Barr also claimed that no tear gas was used on Monday. But a U.S. Park Police spokesperson told Vox on Friday that it was a "mistake" to say in a statement that tear gas was not used, acknowledging that the use of "smoke canisters and pepper balls" can cause tears and irritate eyes.

The big picture: Barr said he understands the African American community's "distrust" with police, but denied that law enforcement in the U.S. is "systemically racist." He also dismissed calls to eliminate or reduce immunity to allow for the prosecution of officers, claiming it "would result certainly in police pulling back."

  • "You know, policing is the toughest job in the country," Barr said. "And I frankly think that we have generally the vast, overwhelming majority of police are good people. They're civic-minded people who believe in serving the public. They do so bravely. They do so righteously."
  • "I think that there are instances of bad cops. And I think we have to be careful about automatically assuming that the actions of an individual necessarily mean that their organization is rotten."

Go deeper: Read the full transcript of the interview

Go deeper

Updated Oct 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The major police reforms enacted since George Floyd's death

Federal officers in Portland, Oregon on July 21. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Nationwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd's killing have put new pressure on states and cities to scale back the force that officers can use on civilians.

Why it matters: Police reforms of this scale have not taken place since the inception of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, following George Zimmerman's acquittal for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.