Return to Transcripts main page
Kenosha Police Hold News Conference as City Erupts; Interview with Joe Biden about Trump's Attacks and about Racial Injustice. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired August 27, 2020 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SHERIFF DAVID BETH, KENOSHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN: Hopefully we're over that hump of what we have to face. Hopefully the -- we know that there are still people out there, instigators that are trying to cause trouble and fire things up. Got it. We've had those before. Everyday life we have instigators of trouble. And we're going to do our best to deal with that, too. But overall, I'm very pleased with the last 24 hours here in Kenosha, the response from every part of government, the response of the people of Kenosha and the cooperation with everyone.
CHIEF DANIEL MISKINIS, KENOSHA POLICE: Much of what I have to say has already been said. I'm not going to be redundant with that. I can tell you from the law enforcement standpoint, the situation is much calmer. Persons are lawfully protesting and that continues late into the night, early into the morning, with persons making their views, making their concerns known. The voice of those people is not falling upon deaf ears. We are hearing what is being said and the mayor has spoke to his commitments, involving myself, to usher in change where that's possible.
Many people were all expressing their views yesterday. Those in support of every cause, different sizes of issues, excuse me, different sides of issues, whether they were pro-protesters, anti- protesters, anti-police, pro-police. Many people were out speaking their mind and that is one of the things that's part of America. You have the right to do that. So much of what was talked about here is the number of resources to deploy and use.
Those resources are being deployed to keep people safe whether you're a resident of Kenosha or somebody traveling here to express different views. We are doing our best to keep it a safe environment and we thank those yesterday who peacefully protested and obeyed the curfew. Unfortunately, not everybody did so. The sheriff spoke that it was less tumultuous night and I would agree.
Unfortunately, there were still weapons charges, there were still persons arrested on warrants and I believe there were some other cases as well. I won't go into the details of those at this time. I know that we have -- we'll be scheduling another conference soon. I thank those who peacefully protested and obeyed the curfew. Not losing their voice, their desire for change to the violence which has gleaned this flat way. Kenosha was once known for American motors and the lake front. We do
not wish to be known for violence of any kind. We continue to investigate the previous looting and arson cases that took place on Sunday night and early into the morning. And we hope to bring those involved to the justice through the court system.
I have no additional information to share regarding the shooting deaths of those persons from the night before. But rest assured those investigations continue and we will build a strong case based upon the facts. We are working hard to keep the citizens of Kenosha safe and to investigate and stop lawless behavior, and that's only by a small group. By no means do I or anybody up here think that 1500 people intend violence.
Most of those people want change, they want accountability, and those are things I think we all agree upon. So, regardless of being particulate of the protest or not, we encourage everybody to obey the law and help keep the community safe so we can concentrate our efforts instead of controlling violence to building harmony and peace for all. Thank you.
MAJ. GEN. PAUL KNAPP, ADJUTANT GENERAL, WISCONSIN NATIONAL GUARD: Good afternoon. I'm Major General Knapp, the adjutant general for the Wisconsin National Guard. First, I want you to know that I grew up here in Wisconsin. It's where I make my home and where I am raising my kids. What's happening in this community goes beyond city and county borders. It affects us all as Wisconsinites and Americans.
And with that, I'm here to give you an update on the role of the National Guard as we continue to serve in a supporting role to local law enforcement. We're help to preserve public safety but we're also here to ensure individual rights to exercise their First Amendment Rights to demonstrate.
Yesterday I spoke about the sacrifices of the National Guard Service members leaving their families and homes to come here to support Kenosha. Today I want to make sure and reemphasize that there are also other people from all over the state, law enforcement, who have done the same thing. They've picked up what they were doing, left their jobs, left their families and they rallied here behind this mission to bring a peaceful conclusion to this event.
So, I think that's really important. I think we need to keep that in mind and keep them in mind as well. Going forward, in terms of National Guard presence, we mentioned yesterday that we were going to be bringing in guard members from other states. So we've solidified some of those details and I can tell you that we have commitments from three other states, Arizona, Alabama, and Michigan. We'll be sending some of their National Guard members here to assist in this effort. And they will be here and hopefully be assisting us as early as tomorrow night in some cases.
For clarification in that, I want to also say that the -- those National Guard members, much like the Wisconsin National Guard, those are not federalized troops. They're here on state active duty. They're here through mutual aid agreement or compact between the states and specifically the governors. And they will be under my command as the adjutant general and ultimately under the command of the commander in chief for the state, Governor Evers.
Again, I'd like to emphasize that our mission here is to protect life safety here in the community and bring back peace. We're also very supportive of all of those who feel that want to peacefully demonstrate and we urge continued peaceful demonstrations. But we also understand that there are people that are coming here to the area with the intent to destroy property and to ruin lives. And those are the people that we need to all look together to keep them out of this community and keep them from doing the harm that they're intending.
So, in closing, I just like to reemphasize how important it is for us all to be together in our efforts. I know that we all appear on the stage here together and I hope all of you out there as well are together in our efforts to bring a peaceful conclusion to this tragic event as we go forward here in Kenosha. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much for your patience.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any explanation --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any explanation --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to answer these questions at any point?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: -- officials in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I want to bring in our Shimon Prokupecz who is in Kenosha.
Shimon, officials saying that they have been relatively pleased with the last 24 hours, what they've seen with the protests last night, how things took place. How was last night different than previous nights?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, certainly the violence and the level of disruption throughout the city. We didn't see that last night. You didn't really have police engaging with protesters the way we have seen in other nights. Certainly you didn't have people with long guns, these vigilantes running around recklessly without regard for life really and taking -- trying to take control of the streets here. You did not see any of that last night. So it is a big change.
One of the things that authorities here said in this press conference was that most of the people, they have found, and we'll see if they can back this up, that who have been coming here and starting trouble are not from here. We know the 17-year-old who was arrested for the murder of those individuals, the 17-year-old with the long gun, he was not from this area. The other people who were with him, the other part of this vigilante group, they were not from this area.
So there is some evidence to suggest that some of the few who have been coming here and starting trouble are not from here. So that's what the police are saying they saw last night. And really today that they're talking about the cleanup, kind of what we're seeing. You see this destruction behind me here. There are ATF agents here who are sorting through the debris, looking for evidence. We've seen people all around the community.
I drove around here. I see people boarding up, I see people painting murals, painting signs on wooden boards that are posted over stores all around. And that is what the sheriff was talking about. They did not update us at any aspects of this investigation. Not as it relates to the 17-year-old and also not as it relates to the shooting of Mr. Blake. The authorities there, the mayor was there, the sheriff's office and the police chief all refused to take questions. They had said that from the outset. They said they were just going to read statements and they were not going to take questions.
So there are still a lot of answers obviously regarding that 17-year- old and then obviously there are also answers that need -- questions that need to be answered about the shooting and why ultimately did this officer feel the need to have to take such force and shoot Mr. Blake seven times in the back.
We still don't have a lot of those answers. We may have another press conference tomorrow from the police where we could get some more answers. Also the 17-year-old Rittenhouse, he's supposed to be in court tomorrow for an extradition hearing in Antioch, Illinois. So perhaps we'll learn a little bit more there and then we'll see. But there are still a lot of questions surrounding, really, both shootings, Anderson, when you think of it.
COOPER: Yes. A lot of unknowns.
Shimon, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Coming up, I'll speak live with Vice President Joe Biden for his response in what's happening in Kenosha and with the Republican National Convention. Stay with us.
COOPER: Joining me now, former vice president, Joe Biden.
Mr. Vice President, thanks for being with us. Conservatives have been attacking you for taking three days to denounce violence erupting in these protests. What do you say to that had?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, first of all I denounced it a long time ago. I denounced it weeks ago. And I've made it clear from the beginning that there's no justification whatsoever for violence, looting. Matter of fact it just flies in the face of the legitimate protests that are going on and takes away from the whole rational for what's happening here. So I've condemned the violence in the very beginning. They're just flat wrong.
COOPER: The vice president echoed the president last night by telling Americans that they would not be safe in Joe Biden's America.
BIDEN: Well, you know, look, if you think about it, Donald Trump saying you're not going to be safe in Joe Biden's America. All the video being played is being played in Donald Trump's America. You know, Kellyanne Conway came out and was very, very blunt about it today. I think I have a quote here. She said, "The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism the more violence equals a better the choice for," excuse me. Better for a very clear choice.
These guys are rooting for violence. That's what this is all about. To prove that you should be scared of Joe Biden, they're pointing to what's happening at Donald Trump's America?
You know, I've made it clear from the beginning that there's no place for violence or looting or burning. And when I spoke with Jacob Blake's mother, Julia, you guys played her on the air. She said that's not who we are. That's not who our family is. That's not who Jacob is. Don't do it. And so, you know, he continues to root for violence. It's -- you know, the country will be substantially safer when he is no longer in office. And --
COOPER: He --
BIDEN: You know, I'm going to work to calm the tensions and root out systemic racism. I'm going to lead.
COOPER: You think he's actually rooting for violence, that he wants violence because --
COOPER: -- it allows him to claim a law and order mantle?
BIDEN: Sure. And because it takes everybody's eye off the ball. Want to talk about safety? Look at the biggest safety issue in the nation, COVID. You know, just yesterday we had 1,249 deaths. Over the seven- day period, we've averaged a thousand death a day. Now that is more than the five largest countries in Europe, a combined population -- we are -- a combined population bigger than us. You know how many they've had? 77 deaths a day.
He has been incompetent in the way in which he's dealt with this. And not only that, you know, he talks about taking away -- still in court trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Going to take 100 million people with preexisting conditions and move them in a direction where they can't get coverage? Going to coverage are going to be lost soon. And on top of that, I got another quote that I found today, that was pointed out to me.
It says, August 12th. This is what he said. And the payroll tax, talking about funding Social Security. The payroll tax. Will be terminating the pay roll tax. The fact of the matter is the actuary for Social Security said if you do that, Social Security will be bankrupt. Not have any money after 2023.
We lost 15 million jobs. You're in a position where you have 15 million people needing Social Security -- I mean, excuse me, needing unemployment insurance, and instead of sitting down with the Congress and working something out, he's in one of his golf course sand traps, trying to get out of a sand trap. Get us out of this mess, Mr. President.
COOPER: You talked about COVID-19, the CDC just the other day, with virtually no announcement of it, they just changed on their Web site, changed the guidelines for who should actually get tested, moving away from actually testing people who are asymptomatic. Sources say it was pressured by the Trump administration from the top. Is that change -- I mean, every doctor I've talked to says that isn't supported by science.
BIDEN: It's not supported by -- every doctor I talk to. I speak with these -- with the medical professionals, on average, three times a week for an hour and 20 mins. Nobody I know of out there, the consensus among the serious scientists is that is absolutely a foolish thing to say and do.
It's absolutely ridiculous. He had -- look, this is a guy talking about pray to God we'll have a vaccine. I'd love that vaccine tomorrow. But look at all the confidence people are losing in anything he has to say, going from inject bleach all the way to, you know, but we don't need this testing, we don't have to test people, and people -- I mean, it's just absolutely bizarre. He needs to be responsible.
COOPER: The president has not talked about the shooting of Mr. Blake. He's talked about violence at -- protests in the wake of it. I'm wondering why you think that is that he hasn't actually addressed it? There's obviously a lot we don't know about the circumstances around it but the video obviously has been out there.
BIDEN: Well, look. I don't know enough to know whether that 17-year- old kid exactly what he did, but allegedly he's part of a militia coming out of the state of Illinois. Have you ever heard this president say one negative thing about white supremacists? Have you ever heard it? That's the reason I got back in this race because of what happened in Charlottesville. People coming out of the woods carrying torches, their veins bulging.
Close your eyes and remember what you saw. And a young woman gets killed, resisting the hate and violence? And the president gets asked to comment on it, what's he say? He says there are very fine people on both sides. What do you mean? Can't have David Duke, for God's sake. A former grand Kleagle. I think this is -- this is a guy who has -- using division and hate is the only way he stays in office. That's what it's all about, dividing, and this idea he doesn't --
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: What do you say --
BIDEN: Go ahead. Sorry.
COOPER: I'm sorry. We have a satellite problem. What's your take on the Republican convention so far?
BIDEN: Well, I thought it was --
BIDEN: A great line that the vice president had last night. We're going to make America great again, again.
BIDEN: I mean, look. I mean, look where the economy is. Look where the health circumstances, look where COVID is. Look where you are internationally. We are internationally. When we left office we were one of the most respected nations in the world. We led not only by the example of our power but the power of our example. Now we rank just a click above Russia and a click below China? I think we're 87 or -- I can't remember the exact number, but, I mean, it is ridiculous.
I said when I announced, the next president is going to have to do two things. Unite the country and deal with a world out of order. And we have to do both those things, and the idea, the things he's saying and doing, his embrace of dictators, the way he throws his arms around Putin, the way he talks about Xi Jinping and how he talked about how they're being so transparent.
I mean, I just -- I don't -- quite frankly, he confused me. I don't understand -- maybe he just doesn't understand. Maybe it's not deliberate. Maybe he just doesn't know enough.
COOPER: We heard --
BIDEN: I don't know. Whatever it is -- sorry.
COOPER: Well, you heard last night at the RNC from the McCloskeys, the couple who are facing charges for pointing guns at peaceful protesters. They were portrayed essentially as heroes. Is that how you see them?
BIDEN: No, I don't see them that way at all. And by the way, talk about middle class neighborhoods? They looked like they were living in a, you know, multimillion-dollar mansion for God's sake. And the fact that they're pointing at pro-protesters that weren't going after them. No evidence of that. Look, this is -- we've got to calm this whole situation down. We've got to move in a different -- the American people aren't buying this.
You have over 50 -- excuse me, 70-some percent of the American people saying there is systemic racism. We have a chance to change it without doing anything but helping people. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic. Doesn't matter. The country is ready, but the only way he can win, and he and Pence can win, I mean, can you imagine? I'm getting attacked on my religion by Donald Trump. When's the last time he darkened the doorway of a church? Come on. This is --
COOPER: We've seen athletes just in the last couple of days stepping back from actually playing any games. The president just called the NBA a political organization, the White House, Pence advisers today dismissed the protests as silly. Jared Kushner weighed in on their salaries and they can afford to take the night off. What do you make of what we're seeing at the NBA and the WNBA and Major League Baseball?
BIDEN: People -- what Trump knows but won't acknowledge is a lot of these men and women have had brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, who have been victimized just because of their color. Just because of their color. These aren't people who, in fact, are out there just trying to -- they don't need any more attention. They are sick and tired. They're sick and tired. The Bucks' coach, did you see him? Maybe you had him -- I was watching on your station, on your show. Standing there almost crying saying, we love America so much. Why don't they love us?
I'm paraphrasing it. The vast majority of the American people are ready to deal with systemic racism. And all this administration does is keep pouring gasoline on the fire. They don't have a dog whistle. He uses a bullhorn. It's all about division. America's always been about addition. Addition. We can deal with these problems. Make the world better for -- the country better for all of us. Everyone. Everybody. We really can. The country's ready.
COOPER: Speaker Pelosi said today that you shouldn't debate Trump. I just want to play what she said for our viewers and have you respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I, myself, just, don't tell anybody I told you this, especially don't tell Joe Biden. I don't think that there should be any debates. I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody -- has any association with the truth, evidence, data and facts. I wouldn't -- I wouldn't legitimize a conversation with him nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mr. Vice president, what do you think?
BIDEN: I understand Nancy's point of view. Some of our leading columnists in the country who are mainstream leaders have indicated I shouldn't debate. Not to me but in the press. I shouldn't debate unless there's a fact checker, et cetera.
Look, I'm used to dealing with bullies. I understand how they work and I'm going by the rules of the debate commission. Play it by the rules and we're going to have a debate. And I'm confident that the vast majority of the press will point out when there are just gross lies. I will mention it as well, and I'm happy to run on the record I had as a senator and as a vice president, as well as be happy to challenge his position. But I don't expect much truth to come out of that obvious podium.
COOPER: Traditionally there are three presidential debates run by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Is that what you expect, three?
BIDEN: Yes. That's what I'm expecting. The first one is each of us at a podium. The second one I guess is more of a town hall setting, like the kinds I've done with you, as I understand it. I'm not positive of that. And there's a third one as well.
COOPER: Mr. Vice President, appreciate your time. Thank you.
BIDEN: Appreciate your time. Thank you very much for having me.
COOPER: I want to bring in our Jeff Zeleny.
Jeff, you heard the vice president there. What's your takeaway?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think that Joe Biden is clearly trying to get back into the conversation this week. He's been taking a couple days off, but I'm told very much watching this Republican convention, watching these attacks on him, watching this attempted rebranding of him as part of the, quote, "radical left," and also watching the Trump administration and the Vice President Mike Pence trying to rebrand themselves. So that's why he is getting out there today to kind of respond to some of these things.
But look, I mean, there is one question, Anderson, when you talk to Democrats who are also watching all of this. They wonder if the Biden campaign and they wonder if Democrats writ large are taking President Trump seriously enough. They wonder, just given all the unrest in the country, all the crises, are they taking his campaign seriously enough?
This is a sign that Joe Biden is doing that. They only have to look to the election four years ago with Hillary Clinton who also was leading by big margins at this point four years ago on this exact day. So I think there is a sense that he is taking this seriously.
He's been around racial justice issues for a long time in his life. He has seen this change throughout the course of his public life here so he is I think very attuned to this, and it was, you know, certainly interesting to both he and Senator Kamala Harris who made phone calls to the family in Wisconsin, and are you know, certainly much more engaged on this than the president. But there is no question that they know that some of these attacks and branding will likely work among some people this week in the country. So that's why he is out there, of course, speaking out at this point, Anderson.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much.
Obviously a lot more ahead. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And we begin this hour with a ton of breaking news.