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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  May 31, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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back with our live coverage. down to lafayette park across from the white house we go. and correspondent garrett haake, what's going on there? >> reporter: this has all the hallmarks of a protest that's about to turn sideways here any time in the next few minutes. just in the last 30 seconds or so, these police officers, this is u.s. park police, secret service, uniformed police, backed up by national guardsmen, military police, have started moving forward. we knew at some point they were going to make a decision to clear this park. the decision by protesters to be throwing water bottles, rocks,
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lately fireworks which have been exploding in the ranks of these officers, appear to have moved up that timeline here a little bit. we've seen some version of this back and forth all day long today. this has been a 98% peaceful protest, i would say. periodically someone would jump the barricade or throw something a little too close to the officers for their comfort level, and they would advance. we would see these momentary skirmishes, and then things would resume being calm. as we get later into the night, the protesters who wanted to come out here and make their points and go home have largely left. the protest tourists have largely left, so you have now the folks in many cases who have been waiting for this opportunity all night long. and they're going to get it. d.c., the mayor has changed her mind as i reported earlier, decided that they will implement a curfew at 11:00 tonight in aun hour. so we know that's coming, we know it's coming sooner rather than later that they'll make the decision to start by clearing lafayette park. that order has not been given yet. the other thing that's happened
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in the last five minutes is all the officers have put on their gas masks underneath their helmets. we're standing ready to do the same thing if they choose to deploy pepper spray or tear gas, both of which were used at different opportunities last night. again, once the patchwork of police agencies that control d.c. made that decision. but again, this has been a 98% peaceful protest here in d.c. today. but as we get closer to that curfew hour -- i think we're going to see the situation change, brian. i'm going to keep my head on a swivel a little bit so we don't get caught where you don't want to be, between protesters and police. we've been at the end the line here, i don't know if you're familiar with d.c., lafayette park is where you go if you're going to the white house. if you have a picture of yourself standing in front of the white house fence, you took it standing in this park. it's about two blocks long. we're going to move this direction a little bit, take a couple of steps back here. we've been on the far end of the
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fence to preserve our egress, but i can tell you the protesters in this park, as they were here last night, go nearly two blocks down the line. they spill all the way down "h" street into the intervening streets here. last night when things got really unsettled in d.c. was when folks actually left this park, left what had been this longstanding, low-grade standoff with police, and spilled out into the intervening streets. brian, this is a good sign. we're seeing the officers backing up. from their position. they had come within ten feet or so of the barricade here. and now backing off. so the confrontation that i think we can all judge is going to happen tonight when that curfew goes into effect it looks like is going to wait a little bit longer. i'll throw it back to you, brian. >> all right, garrett haake. and for viewers, garrett's absolutely right. if you have a picture of the north portico of the white house, the most-photographed side of the house, it is from lafayette park and the
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now-closed pennsylvania avenue. behind garrett there, to the left of this camera position, is the so-called church of the presidents. it's a real confluence here, because the white house is on secret service-protected property. sidewalk is part of the national park service. step into the street, it's metropolitan police department, washington, d.c. so you have three uniformed police departments. then you have the federal protection service and a couple more. and the national guard. so it is a heavily defended couple of acres. 18 acres in all on the white house grounds. these are fireworks. that's been one of the few means the protesters have had to fire projectiles back. let's go up to boston. nbc boston's perry russom is
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with us. perry, i've been trying to track the progress of this moving protest. am i right that they are headed to the statehouse? perry? it's brian williams, can you hear us? >> reporter: brian, we're at the statehouse right now, we've been here the last hour. the violence has been going off and on like a switch here. it was off, and it looks like it's about to be turned back on as we have boston police on their motorcycles coming face-to-face with protesters. yes, i can hear you, brian. can you hear me? >> yes, we're operating on a long, long delay. but go ahead, please. >> reporter: brian, can you hear me?
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yes, so like i was saying, the violence has been going off and on like a light switch here. right now we are seeing boston police going face-to-face here with some of the protesters here. we are on a longer delay, as you're mentioning, because there's so many cell phones out here, thousands and thousands of people made the walk from roxbury, massachusetts, nubian square that was newly renamed from dudley square. they went from dudley square to nubian square because people were frustrated with the name dudley what that man stood for what he represented. in the last half hour we did see a transit police car that came through here at the statehouse. people started surrounding it. they actually busted open the back windshield. police, who are up there at the statehouse right now, decided to come down and fire fire nonlethal rounds to help out the transit police officer that was there. and the crowd scattered. this has been a very tense time. people have been lighting trash
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cans on fire. there were so many people down here, even the smallest little noise is making people very jumpy. for example, this is park avenue you're looking at, brian. there were a few hundred people who were standing here. we heard a small roar that was coming. next thing you knew, you had people who were running down the street. once you see one person running, you see that mob mentality of people going, should i be running too? i should be running. boston police were tweeting saying people were throwing bricks at them, glass bottles at them, plastic bottles at them. we haven't heard anything about any officers being injured. we have seen one person here that was taken into custody. they decided to breach the wall here at the statehouse. now we are seeing s.w.a.t. if you can look up there at the statehouse there, i can see some of the s.w.a.t. members who are standing alongside of massachusetts state police. to the right is when we had
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those s.w.a.t. officers. we also see some men that look like they are in fatigues. they were the ones that were firing the nonlethal weapons. we could hear it, then you saw the entire crowd just scatter. so the light switch of anger and frustration has been going off and on. but we were having a good conversation walking three miles with these people. they were sharing their ideas. why they wanted to be heard. we saw families, we saw older people, younger people. once everybody came down here, i felt it, what do they do now? what are they going to do? so you saw the younger people and the families decide to leave. and that left all these people here who are showing their frustration tonight, brian. they were showing their -- take a look here, brian. you can see them, the protesters and demonstrators, on one knee, kneeling with fists in the air as boston police are trying to clear the road. they had the massachusetts state police helicopter trying to clear this area, but that wasn't doing anything.
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i'm trying to hear what they're saying here, brian. i can't hear what they're saying at all there. now some of them are getting closer and closer, starting to close off the street here. the confluence of frustration from these young people is certainly being seen and coming to a head here. >> perry, thank you. >> the boston police are still trying to clear this area and make traffic going, but people are going face to face with protesters. we've already heard stories about looting. they were looting a men's wearhouse, taking suits out, and they've busted and broken some of those things. >> perry, thank you. i think what we heard them saying was "take a knee." but it's a long way away, so we could be wrong. on the right-hand side of the screen, while perry was talking at the statehouse -- if you've been to boston, the statehouse is roughly at the northeast corner of the common. if you've been on the freedom trail walk, it goes right up
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through the common to the front steps where they were. this -- i believe that's the park church in the foreground on the left. and that is a burning boston pd vehicle in the background. but these kinds of skirmishes and police lines are what we see develop sometimes splintered three and four at a time in different city streets. and boston tonight joins the list of other large american cities with dismounted police facing off against protesters in the streets. and according to perry's reporting, with a fire going on in the background, there has been some looting there tonight. ali velshi holding down the fort for us in the twin cities. he's live in minneapolis. ali, what do we got? >> all right, so what we have now, this is the mobile station right on the mississippi river that we were looking at earlier.
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the police came up from the river, from the highway, i-35. they came in from the city. and they converged on this. you saw that with the police on foot and on bicycle. now what you have is all of the police have now converged on that mobile station, backed up by national guardsmembers out here, state police over to the side. everybody who did not leave that gas station that property where everybody was assembled, has been told that they are under arrest. we've got police with zip ties for binding people's hands. you've got a better shot than i do of the people who were down and being arrested. that's the process right now. there's nothing else going on immediately in the streets around us. the police surrounded this group. anybody who didn't get out is under arrest. around the corner where we were, there are yet more police. what we were talking about, the degree to which this is a little more organized than it's been the last couple of nights, there are more police standing in the wings in case anything were to develop. we've heard the odd pop but
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doesn't seem to be anything active going on. there are no protesters to be seen. that group that remains at the gas station are now going to be arrested. that's the latest development we've got. looks like everybody on i-35, police and national guardsmembers, have converged and they're conducting arrests. >> all right, ali velshi, thank you. while tense, and whale it's unfortunate people have to be zip tied and arrested and taken away, it sure beats the very violent alternative we've seen in the twin cities. seattle, washington. jolene kent has made her way there. we heard from the mayor there earlier today, jolene, saying, you know, they were not at all interested in violent protests. protest, sure. but they wanted to keep violence out of that town tonight. >> reporter: yeah, that's exactly what we're seeing, brian, right now. we've been walking with this crowd now for about half an hour.
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you can hear the trumpet going here. it's not exactly a diverse crowd, but seattle is not a diverse city, necessarily. but they say that they are here, they are now turning around, by the way. they're out here because they believe that this problem needs to be solved as soon as possible. i talked to a couple of protesters just now who say they are braving the pandemic because they believe so strongly in social justice and equality for every member of the seattle community. what we saw earlier is flash bangs being sent out on a peaceful crowd a couple of hours ago. that has now turned entirely peaceful. we are at the very end of the capitol hill neighborhood right now, brian. we're headed downtown. and that is traditionally where you see a lot of those big protests here in seattle happening. the police have managed to push a lot of the protesters peacefully up into the capitol
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hill area. now they're heading back in that direction. so the scene here in seattle, very peaceful, very spirited. and a lot of people, i'd say we've got at least 1,000 people out here marching in conjunction with where the police are. there have been moments of tension, of course. but here in seattle, it is a very peaceful scene. people trying to get their voices heard. they are chanting this support of the floyd family. they're also in support of black lives matter. and they are out in force tonight. we have not yet seen the looting that we saw last night here in seattle. we should also mention, it's 7:14 here, brian. two hours and 14 minutes ago the curfew went into place. we continue to move with this crowd. and you can see they're being now joined by some vehicles here. but a lot of the businesses that were looted here last night
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ended up -- they had just reopened from coronavirus. so they were just removing the boards to their businesses. they were ransacked. today, throughout the day, we saw an unbelievable outpouring of support. when it comes to cleaning up those areas. now we're heading back down towards the water here and the protesters here are chanting "black lives matter." "hands up, don't shoot." they're taking a seat here. i'll let you take a view of this right now and you can see a very active group of protesters. but at the far end of this block, brian, you can see there's an increased police presence. and the police presence here has been primarily the state police and the seattle police. we have not yet seen here in the downtown seattle area the 400
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national guard that have been deployed by the state, by governor inslee. they have not been out here so far as we've seen. but a peaceful protest, i'm glad to share yoith ywith you, here seattle. >> we are so happy to see it too. jolene kent in seattle. you know, the kind of sound you hear from applause, the sound you hear from chants, bring that all night long because that sure is welcome interruption from the scenes of violence we're seeing elsewhere. garrett haake on the right-hand side there, full frame, washington, d.c. garrett, what's burning? garrett? garrett, no audio from you. same thing happened last night. if you want to work on your connection.
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>> check, check, check -- >> hey, there you are. >> hey, brian, all right. we're going to try to get down here. can we take a walk here? let's see if we can get a little bit closer and see what we're looking at here. brian, this is sort of how this degenerated last night, essentially, with a couple of small fires in trash cans, a larger fire set in a dumpster, then fires set in cars on a nearby block. i'm still not quite able to tell what's burning. again, last night it was a dumpster that started things off on a bad track here. and that may be the case here again today. you can see this is -- >> garrett, given the situation there, as you stand there, which way is the white house? >> reporter: brian, if you're looking at the flames, the white house will be on your right-hand
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side. that's the corner of 15th and "h," so you're looking at the northeast corner of lafayette park. just outside the park itself. if you were to cross diagonally through that park, you're about 150 yards from pennsylvania avenue and the white house itself. i have to tell you, all of the streets around here have been closed and blocked off for most of the day. i have no idea how any fire or ems vehicle could get close to this. the side streets have been thick with people coming and going most of the day peacefully. a lot of the crowd up against the barricades has come over to do the same thing i'm doing, which is to try to figure out what's going on with this fire, what's going on with the protest. it's obviously changing the care of events today. we're backed up against a tree here, so we're going to stay put and watch this happen.
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this is the challenge for law enforcement, the patchwork of folks in lafayette park, including park police, secret service, and the national guard. they don't have jurisdiction here, and i don't believe any of them have operational fire departments. that's going to fall to d.c. fire and ems and the metro police department npd. there is not an npd officer that i can see, and i would imagine not any for a couple of blocks. they have really stayed clear of this area over the last day or two. i think we're going to watch this burn for a while as we continue to tick towards that 11:00 curfew tonight that is the thing that makes me quite nervous, honestly, here in d.c. curfews aren't typically done here. clearing the streets and clearing this park, if they choose to do so forcefully, at 11:00, is going to be a challenge, brian. >> by the way, people have expressed the question, people have asked, there is no way the president and first family can't
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hear or see what's going on inside that building. the white house is at the end of the day, while retrofitted over the years, the last going through it is the truman administration, it is an old sandstone structure. on an average day, depending on what window you're near, you can hear protests going on in lafayette park if they're using a loudspeaker, banging a drum. these fireworks, flash bang grenades, especially because they're concussive, you'd better believe that can be felt and heard inside the white house, in the working area, in the west wing, where by the way white house staff were told not to come in today. we presume that same kind of limited staffing order is going to go out for tomorrow. and up in the residence portion of the white house, which we don't talk about much for security reasons. members of the c.a.t. team, the
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counter-assault team, are up on the absolute roof of the white house where they have a working bunker, and they use long-lens optics. they are completely aware, fit moves within a couple of miles of the white house, they see it. and so everyone's attuned to this. garrett referenced earlier a report that the president was taken down to the secure bunker which was last in the news generally during 9/11 when senior staff were taken down there. in many cases, including but not limited to vice president cheney, and when he arrived, president bush, against their will. but the secret service get to be the boss of you in some occasions like that when national security is at risk. let's hope this is a localized dumpster, perhaps a car fire, and let's hope this does nothing to change the status, the uneasy
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status. peaceful status as of right now between protesters and police officers. a break for our coverage. we'll be back with more of all of this right after this. if you have a garden you know, weeds are low down little scoundrels. with roundup sure shot wand you don't need to stoop to their level. draw the line. the sure shot wand extends with a protective shield to pinpoint those pesky bedfellows. it lets you kill what's bad right down to the root, while comfortably guarding the good. draw the line with the roundup sure shot wand. roundup brand. trusted for over 40 years. and its mission is to give you truly transformative sleep. so, no more tossing and turning... or trouble falling asleep. because only tempur-pedic uses proprietary tempur® material...
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back to garrett haake, lafayette park across from the white house, garrett, what's up? >> reporter: brian, things continue to escalate here. you're looking at one of these outbuildings across from lafayette park, which is now a more or less completely operational structure fire. i will try to step on your firefighting expertise. what started as a small fire in the enclosed courtyard has spread to the rest of the building. that has caught the attention of police in the park who have moved up even closer to the barricades. as the fire that we originally were drawn to on the left has continued to grow, as folks have been adding tree branchs and street signs, garbage, anything else they could to it, we're starting to see things clear out here. we heard one flash bang fired by police into the general area. that got a lot of folks'
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attention, a lot of folks retreating up 16th street past the church behind me. it's significantly cleared out, the protesters who had been here, although some of them are now starting to return. again, as i watch this structure fire, which is absolutely visible from the white house, to your earlier point. i can see the fire if the foreground, i can look into the grand foyer of the white house in the background. the symbolism alone is striking, that that would absolutely be something most visible and that flash bang audible for the president of the united states if he is anywhere in that residence right now. and brian, quite honestly, we're going to see how this plays out here a little bit. as i'm looking into the park, i'm watching those park police not yet moving forward, not yet making any significant effort to clear this. i see no significant effort being made to come in and address this fire.
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>> garrett, tell folks what this structure is normally used for. >> reporter: i wish i believed, bri -- i wish i could. i believe this is an outbuilding, a restroom -- this is not something i've seen operational. it's been thoroughly redecorated today by protesters who have been tagging it and sitting on its roof since late last night. you know, this whole area around the white house is something that has been progressively militarized over the last 19 years, i guess, since 9/11. where more and more of what was in this park has had its access limited, had folks pushed back, had fences get higher and hours get shorter. it allows the security apparatus that you're seeing in the far background here to better defend the white house and defend this area. and they're starting to do so now. i'm hearing those pepper balls being fired from those modified paint ball guns.
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maybe you hear park police using, trying to thin this crowd. trying to figure out, i suppose, how they're going to approach this building. >> okay, pal. because i know elements of your family all say what they're saying watching you on tv, get your mask on, i will do a little bit of talking here to our viewers watching. garrett raises a really important point, and that is that the dcfd has to get in there. no shortage of fire hydrants around the perimeter of lafayette park, but the smoke you're seeing on the eaves on the right, that's going to get thicker and more toxic, and this fire is going to flash over and take a run through the eaves. and it's going to become fully involved. d.c. fire is going to have to get in there. so that will be the next drama that will require crowd control to clear a lane. and if it's anything like the twin cities, los angeles, new
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york, fire has not wanted to respond in all cases unless they have security. they don't want to know that their men and women could be at risk when they get in there with apparatus. last night a significant fire was lit behind the hay adams hotel, also in view of the white house, also on the perimeter of the lafayette park. the hay adams itself, the building was spared. they lost a construction site under construction out back. we have several places we want to go and people we want to talk to. and one voice even while we catch these photos, as surreal and macabre as all of our coverage has been, one voice i want to bring in here is that of steve schmidt. steve, i've been following your thoughts all day on social media. i have been following your thoughts on this president, i've been following your thoughts on
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how law enforcement present themselves, enter into some of these battles in the streets. in some cases enter into what are peaceful protests. what they're wearing, their stance, how they present. and so i'll have you have at it. >> good evening, brian. it's nice to be with you. looking at these pictures, what a low moment for the united states as we see chaos throughout the country, a country that is the epicenter of coronavirus death and infection with the shattered economy. those restaurateurs in washington, d.c. were looking forward to inviting their first customers back just this weekend, outside dining. of course, that won't be happening now as well, with all of this. the president has incited and divided, has stoked this.
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his comments have been as outrageous as they are unacceptable. president of the united states fanning these flames, inciting racial hatreds, just appalling conduct. i think that we're at an hour in this country that injustice towards black americans just won't be tolerated. and we need to deal with it. we should have an honest discussion at a policy level about militarization of police departments. i think a policeman should dress like a policeman and woman. think mayberry, not fallujah. there's too many police officers in small towns that are wearing fatigues, battle dress uniforms, combat boots with their pants bloused in. that militarization has been a trend over 20 years. and we see some really disturbing images of aggression by police forces.
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we see police firing on unarmed civilians, on the press, on peaceful protesters. very aggressive stance. >> steve schmidt, i have to interrupt you to bring in gadi schwartz and the other horrifically sad and violent scene out in california, southern california, in santa monica tonight. gadi, what do you have? >> reporter: you see us drop our camera, you'll know why. but the promenade looting has begun. you can see what's going on over here. this is a foot action. we're going to take a walk down that way. i want to keep a close distance here. you've got people that are going inside. from what it looks like, you've got skirmishes going on in all kinds of different places throughout santa monica. and police have, for better or worse, abandoned this area.
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so again, people going inside of a foot action here, at least, and they are running toward their cars. so i'm going to swing around, i'm going to show you what that looks like. you see that over there? that's where cars are just dropping people off and people are getting out of their cars and they are running towards this foot action and they are grabbing everything they can, then they are running towards their cars and taking off. all this is happening before cops can even respond. there are l.a. police department officials as well as sheriff officials on the other side. they have been skirmishing with some agitators. brian, there are really three groups of different people that have been out here. there have been the protesters that we saw peacefully demonstrating over by the pier earlier today, had no idea this was going on. then you've got people like this who they run very quickly when they see a police officer, but they run very quickly when they see an open store that hasn't been hit, like we're seeing here
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at foot action. then there are the agitators. a very small group of people that are carrying around riot shields, dressed for a fight, and they are engaging with police. so they are throwing things, we've seen them throw rocks, we've seen them throw bottles. and the police have to respond. then they also have fires that are being put -- that are going off in all different parts of santa monica right now. at some point -- it wouldn't be a stretch to see a fire break out in this foot action here. it's really sad because you see that there is some plywood outside of that foot action. some of these other places have plywood up. but the people who run a lot of these shops have fallen back from this area in santa monica. just to show you where police are, this looting is happening this close to a police officer. there are police officers right down there.
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and this is foot action right now and again, it's almost like block by block of cat and mouse games of thieves that are going in, stealing things. protesters in different parts of the city that are demonstrating that have no idea that this is going on. and then people that are looking to set fire to police cars, squad cars, and to actively engage. and brian, everybody is wearing a mask. everybody seems to have a mask on so it's very give rut -- hold on real fast. it seems as though we've got some action here. you hear the sirens -- >> gadi, let me tell our viewers, if we see -- that might mean a wave of police officers coming. let me just point out to our viewers, especially those not familiar with southern california. third street promenade is everything in santa monica. for retailing and social life. the street is full. we'll follow that with our camera. the street is full of street
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musicians, buskers, musicians any given night. of course, the weather is usually beautiful. every famous brand name in retailing in our country and around the world can be found on the third street promenade. >> reporter: and the scramble you just saw, brian, that was because of those two officers that came over here and the sound of a siren. as quickly as they came in, they have disappeared. and you see that going on in different stores all throughout here. foot action is the first one that we've seen on the promenade proper that has been hit. people are going in, and you know what they all ran, and now we've actually got some people that are going back in. somebody just took in a trash can to collect -- to put merchandise in and then walk out with. and again, this is all happening -- i'll show you right here, this guy can't even carry all the boxes.
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you've got another guy coming here. then look at this. as we pan out over here, you've got an officer down there, and it seems like a single, solitary officer. he is unable to do anything. and brian, i don't know if i was able to describe this earlier. but this one is a promenade, so this is a pedestrian area. down there, there is an area where people were driving up and they were grabbing things and they were putting it inside of their cars. and police had to actually direct out of traffic. they were directing traffic while knowing perfectly well these cars were filled with loot. there's something happening over here. i'm going to take a walk over here. and again, you're going to see, if we drop the camera, it's because we want to keep a low profile.
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we've actually got the sheriff's department. it's coming. you've got some s.w.a.t. officers that are going to come this way. and then you're going to have -- okay, this is the first time that we've actually seen officers making their way, it appears as though they've gotten some reinforcements. but even still, down this way, there are some people that are acting extremely -- they're not moving, so there is going to be a clash here. we're going to take a step over here and allow this to transpire. just make sure that we clearly identify ourselves. then you're going to see these officers engage with this group. and then actually you've got somebody sneaking out of foot action right now. and they're running. but again, this is the cat and mouse game. it's really just to clear these areas. there are no arrests that we're seeing being made.
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the situation is so chaotic that it's really just about a tactical position. we'll see if there's a -- there are some arrests that might be made right here they're telling people to get down. we'll see if they're able to keep them here. but it's going to take quite a bit of force, because you've got a bigger crowd that's coming up, then you've got two officers coming over here. then you've got some less than lethal ammunition. then there's people running. people running in every direction. here we go, watch it, watch it. all right, here we go. everything's good. we're good, we're good. we're going to take a -- we've got a few people -- it looks like they're actually making arrests right now. i'm going to show you this. we're staying in a group. we've got people being handcuffed over here. we've got about a dozen
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officers, we're able to move in very quickly, and it seems like they are making arrests. there were people running in all different directions. so this is that cat and mouse game. and we actually saw a few vans that were coming down here from the sheriff's department, and those vans are going to be loading people up very quickly and taking them to jail. so this is the first time we've actually seen arrests all night. this may be what we see for the rest of the night. because a lot of these people have come looking to loot, and it doesn't look like that's going to stop any time soon. because before this, it appeared they were doing that with impunity, going store to store, taking everything they can. this is the first time we've seen officers come in and be able to make arrests. it seems as though the crowds here are pretty small. i'm going to let some of this play out here. we've got individuals being handcuffed.
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i would say probably maybe one-tenth of the people we saw go inside now appear to be in some sort of custody. this appears to be all kinds of different officers from different jurisdictions. santa monica police, the sheriff's department, some tactical officers. and you've got some people saying they weren't looting -- we're going to talk to this officer. >> are you secure? please step over. >> reporter: sure, absolutely. we're clearing over to the side here. >> gadi, thank you. the only reason i would break away is the reason we're going to have to break away and that is that garrett haake, our colleague in lafayette park, is reporting things are about to go south. on the high shot you can see the flames in the foreground in front of the white house,
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garrett. >> reporter: yeah, brian. this is the moment we sort of knew was coming eventually. npd has decided it's time to clear this street. they came down from the east side of "h" street and they came down in a hurry. armored npd officers coming down the block. about 20 or 30-foot chunks. they were move up slowly then rush forward. essentially pull anyone who's behind them back behind hem, anyone who's in front of them back out of the way. we're watching now. they've come far enough down "h" street they've gotten in front of this building that's now totally engulfed. here's what i'm talking about. >> back up, back up, back up. >> reporter: all right, all right. now we're moving back up, down 16th street. obviously at the direction of what i must say is u.s. park police, not npd. moving folks again further back. if i can pan -- swing to the right a little bit here. this is a mix of folks who are
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trying to make a point of being peaceful, trying to make a point to kneel, keep their hands up. and a bunch of folks who aren't, throwing bottles, rocks, fireworks, anything they can get their hands on, making it impossible for peaceful protesters to make any other statement other than, they've got to go. because the folks who are here to fight police have their moment now. because park police have decided now is the time, they want to clear this street. they are moving east to west down "h" street. we're standing in front of the church of presidents here. the church of st. john on the corner of 16th street and "h." watching this square being very aggressively cleared out, brian. >> if we still have it, garrett, i want to show people the high-angle shot of where you are right now.
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that is the white house. in between is lafayette park. flames are visible from another angle of the structure on fire. if you widen out further in the background, tom jefferson stands alone in his memorial across the reflecting pool. there's the washington monument. and the nation's capital city stands before you. with flashing police lights in the foreground, smoke rising around the 18-acre white house grounds. washington, at least that neighborhood of it, in turmoil. where we just were, santa monica, california, in turmoil. and a good, long list of just about every major city in between that you can name. garrett, how are we doing?
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>> reporter: we're doing all right, brian. we are making the prudent decision to back up here a little bit. the one place you don't want to be in a situation like this is between the protesters and the police. the protesters behind us throwing whatever they can get their hands on, and the police moving forward. what we've seen now is the officers who have been behind their shields, behind their barricades in lafayette park, really all day long, coming out across "h" street here. i think we're going to see the enforcement of this curfew that's set to go into effect in 17 minutes, about to start here pretty early. they're going to start trying to clear these streets that have been essentially prepared for this all day. i got here early this afternoon and was watching the last remaining businesses in this district that did not already have them get boarded up here this afternoon. the hay adams completely boarded up. several of the businesses, the unions, the think tanks, the organizations that exist in this
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part of d.c. either had their windows smashed last night or had them covered up today. i think in advance of a moment that we all saw coming here today, and i think -- more significantly, as the protesters unload their arsenal of fireworks, essentially inviting these park police to start coming down the street, which is what i think we're about to see more earnestly, brian. >> yeah, i get that. now on the high shot, the smoke is more visible on the pennsylvania avenue side in front of the north portico. of the white house. what an absolute, chaotic pes. as garrett points out, they just want to hold and then control this piece of this now fought over piece of property. note the secret service on the roof of the white house shining
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a light down onto the north lawn. that's the fountain you see, the lit triangle in front of the white house door. we're also trying to check on the scene we just left. gadi schwartz in santa monica, california. steve schmidt remains with us. and i just think we can -- okay, steve schmidt, hold that thought. gadi, go ahead what have we missed. >> reporter: brian, so it's been interesting. we've seen this big contingent of officers making arrests over here. and then incredibly, while all this was going on with all of these officers, there were still people sneaking into the back of foot action from this side street going in. we just saw a large group of officers going in there with nonlethal rounds to try to -- there we go -- these are some of
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the people that were sneaking into this foot action while all this was going on. they were looking for an opportunity to go inside. here we go. and then they could see the people were being arrested over here. now we're seeing people go inside, and then we've got people that are obviously out here agitating. people are agitating us, people are agitating police, but this has been the dynamic situation. hey, how's it going? >> get the message out -- >> reporter: give me just a little bit of space there. so here's some of what we've seen them take from this store. again, we need to make a very clear distinction. these are not protesters, these are people that have seen an opportunity and people that have seen police that have been engaged in other areas that are -- hey, give me just a -- >> people are hungry --
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>> reporter: as soon as i'm done with this i'm going to come interview you here. >> months they've been home alone waiting -- >> reporter: let's ask you some questions here, come closer to me, give me a second. so i want to ask you, you were saying something about a $1,200 check? why do you think people are looting? do you think that this has to do with the protests that are going or is this something separate? >> it's all included. people have been unfairly treated for such a long time, hundreds of years. they are hungry. people are hungry before, they thought there was going to be a riot before, more people have lost their jobs than ever before. >> reporter: it seemed there were two different groups -- >> racism and oppression of people, it's all included. from police to the economics to everything. >> do you think that this, what we're seeing here, is part of the protest? or do you think -- >> absolutely not. there's been many protests of people -- you know what the reality is? the officers, when they want to protect something, they are. the hospital is protected right now. it's not on fire, no one's
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there, there's only a few officers around it. i was with 25 officers and me, a few protesters. my point is they were spending all their attention with protesters who had water bottles and signs. they could have been here. none of these windows would have broken if there was just a few here -- >> with apologies to this gentleman with two devices and a long story to tell to our friend gadi, steve schmidt, as planned, let me bring in your voice to sum up what we're seeing on live television on both coasts, in your country, right now. >> we're seeing an hour of chaos, the likes that's probably not been seen in this country since 1968. and it's likely to get worse. this is an hour of american weakness. we are the epicenter of coronavirus death.
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and infection. as i mentioned before, we have 40 million people that have lost their jobs, the economy is shattered. we're at a vulnerable place as a society. the president is derelict in his duty. he's been inciting people. it's important in moments like this that leaders be able to speak to the people of the country with a voice of moral authority. that they're able to talk to people calmly. that they have the integrity and trust necessary to calm boiling waters. and so tonight, we see the absence of that in this country, and we think about donald trump as president, his deficiencies are intellectual. they're mental. but most importantly, they're moral. the inability to express any national empathy during this coronavirus tragedy. to his inability to understand the anger and the frustration and the systemic racism.
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the rage of people watching. the execution of a man. nine minutes with a knee on his neck. and there's likely to be a great debate that takes place in this country over appropriate policing. what it means. training of police departments. from how they comport themselves to how they dress. that citizens of the united states should not live like they're in an occupied territory with a militarized police force, and the inequities of this, i think that the whole country is opening their eyes to it as these acts have been increasingly video recorded over recent years. and so we see rage. but i think it's important to understand that the moral legitimacy of this movement will be rooted in its commitment to nonviolence. and the juxtaposition of peaceful protesters trying to
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stand for morality, civil justice, in the country, are polluted by the images of violence that we're seeing play out that take away from the moral legitimacy of the very important message that so many of the protesters are trying to deliver. the policy officials and politicians in the country. >> steve schmidt, not far down pennsylvania avenue there are 535 people who have been elected to their post from the folks back home. senate, members of the house. all of them have a vote. all of them were put there. all of them have a voice. what responsibility do they have? what should we expect of them? because we're not hearing it tonight. >> you think back to american history and you think of the tragic night, the assassination
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of martin luther king and bobby kennedy was in indianapolis and he told a crowd of mostly black americans that martin luther king had been killed and he appealed to them and to that city that there be calm that night and there were riots that broke out all over the country but not in indianapolis, and commend any american to go and read and to watch what bobby kennedy said that night. and to understand the importance and the necessity for political leadership in moments like this. what we see is chaos and an absolute -- an absolute vacuum of leadership. there's no one in the country that's trusted by the country. country is divided and it's been divided by politicians and a billion dollar anger industry. by systemic racism and
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mistreatment and unfair abuse. and we're seeing the powder keg being lit by the man who was given the high honor to sit behind the desk of -- behind the resolute desk in the oval office. americans should be taking concern about what it says about the state of our country, civil in our politics and justice and injustice to so many americans. >> well, there was -- while steve was talking, there was a shot in the fore ground is what's called the church of the presidents. in the background, flames now licking against the sky. we've circled for you the smoke from the fire that garrett was talking about. you see it there when we widen out. happy to report that engine 3 of the d.c. fire department has arrived. but that may not do the trick. they've got to be able to
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stretch hose lines over and finish the job and that requires security and that requires police. what a striking, striking shot across the river to arlington, virginia, but including there washington monument, jefferson memorial, and let's just take a half a second and reflect on one of the things steve schmidt just said. "no one in the country who is trusted in the country." in the last two hours since we've been on the air, the president tweeted in all caps, "fake news." and we'll leave the judge mentsp to viewers seeing these live pictures. he is inside that building and if you don't think he is watching television on a night
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like this, well, then you haven't been paying attention. garrett haake, what do you have in lafayette park? >> reporter: if the president's watching, i'm looking at his house right now and there's nothing fake about this. this storage facility we've been looking at all night that's completely engulfed now i think is the reason that the park police cleared us out here. they wanted to get fire engines down this block to try to address that. but those dcfd engines have moved on. don't know whether it was a lack of access to water or they didn't feel safe enough even in that situation here. and in the meantime, the park police have pushed us back yet again including giving my photographer and i a little bit of a boost getting out of the area here as they try to create a little bit more space. i want to direct you to this. this is what this is really all about. this is still peaceful protesters trying to come out here and express their anger, their frustration, their
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exhaustion, with what has gone on in this country when it comes to police brutality. these people are trying to do this peacefully. they've been trying to self-police, the folks who have been here throwing rocks and bottles and fireworks. so that they can deliver this message to this exact audience. to this audience. these police officers, to the man who lives in the house temporarily down the street, they're trying to make a very clear point right now. and in the face of all this, now with most of the crowd gone, with most of the bottle throwing, the rock throwing, the pepper spraying done, they're doing exactly that. >> it's hard to find a place to begin the story of what we're seeing play out in front of the white house where so much history has taken place. and in days of old, presidents used to enjoy a morning walk
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over that very same acreage, but in many ways, you could look at it this way. what steve jobs started in wanting us to have the portability of a phone that was also a camera that allowed us to converse with complete strangers on the other side of the world, you cut from there to a man who hands a $20 bill over in a convenience store in minneapolis, $20 bill turns out to be a fake. minutes later, the life is draining from his body. george floyd, the late george floyd is no more. the police officer whose knee we saw to mr. floyd's neck, has been charged with murder. not the degree to which the folks on the streets of this country want to see.
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three other police officers involved are free to watch this tonight at home with their families. that's not what the protesters want to see or hear. and in the mix, the complication of what frank figliuzzi outlined to us. other actors. harder to see. harder to convince people of. harder to sniff out. harder to identify. but they're in there. they're a part of this. it's what the protesters don't recognize about aspects of the protest movement and the violence, the looting, we saw tonight on live television, to the point where people were fleeing on foot, running away, trying to escape into our cameras.
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it's a kind of intersection of anger and opportunity with a pandemic and an economic collapse mixed in. and that brings us to the top of the 11:00 p.m. hour on the east coast. if you were watching hours ago, i thank my friend, katy tur, for pointing out that we were pointing to the wrong bridge on live television when we meant to say was the manhattan and not the brooklyn bridge. would that have been the biggest problem we were cataloging tonight, but katy, as i pass it over to you, this is -- this is the nation you get to describe next. >> and what a nation it is at this moment. brian williams. thank you very much. good evening. i am katy tur. it's 8:00 p.m. out west and 11:00 p.m. here in the east where as you can see from these images, america is crying out. amid a global pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the depression.