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House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) pushed back on the idea of defunding the police on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, insisting that "police have a role to play" and that the system can be restructured and reimagined in order to respond to the current crisis.

Why it matters: Clyburn is the highest-ranking African American in Congress and an important voice in the effort to reform policing at the federal level. He and other Democratic leaders, including Joe Biden, have voiced opposition to the idea of defunding or abolishing police departments pushed by activists in recent weeks.

What he's saying:

Nobody is going to de-fund the police. We can restructure the police forces. Restructure, re-imagine policing. That is what we are going to do. The fact of the matter is that police have a role to play. What we've got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in. ... This is a structure that has been developed that we have got to deconstruct. So I wouldn't say defund. Deconstruct our policing. 
— Rep. Clyburn

The big picture: House Democrats unveiled a sweeping police reform bill last week that aims to broaden police accountability, reimagine police training, and ban chokeholds and the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases, among other things. They're aiming to pass the package by the end of June.

Driving the news: Clyburn condemned the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who was killed by an Atlanta police officer on Friday night after resisting arrest.

  • "This did not call for lethal force," Clyburn said. "And I don't know what's in the culture that would make this guy do that. It has got to be the culture, it's got to be the system."

Go deeper: Black Lives Matter co-founder explains "Defund the police" slogan

Go deeper

Updated Sep 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rochester mayor vows to reform police after Daniel Prude's death

Demonstrators in Rochester, New York. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Lovely Warren, mayor of Rochester, New York, pledged reforms to the city's police as protests continued Sunday over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who was experiencing mental health issues when he was detained.

Driving the news: Prude died seven days after being hooded and held down by Rochester police. Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said at a news conference with Warren that he supported the changes and he was "dedicated to taking the necessary actions to prevent this from ever happening again."

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.