Interviews

Ron Hosko discusses the police response to Charlottesville

Former FBI assistant director gives his take

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 14, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TRISH REGAN, GUEST HOST: The police chief in Charlottesville, Virginia, is about to hold a news conference. That's coming right up following this weekend's violence.

Let's go right now to Doug McKelway in Charlottesville, who has the very latest.

What do we expect to hear from him here?

DOUG MCKELWAY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's hard to say.

I do know that reporters are going to be asking tough questions. They're champing at the bit to try to understand what the motivation of the police department here and their associated forces was as this thing began to get out of control early Saturday morning.

I know for a fact that we have heard from a senior law enforcement from another county nearby this one, nearby Albemarle County, who that says that some of his underlings who attended a briefing here conducted by the city of Charlottesville and the police department of Charlottesville and the mayor's office of Charlottesville before Saturday morning's riot happened, that they were not to make arrests without the explicit approval of the mayor of the city of Charlottesville.

We're going to ask that question of the police chief. I know that other people are going to want to ask of the police chief whether he intends to resign.

That's one of the rumors that was not a rumor, but I have heard of it from reporters here who told me specifically that they were going to ask that question of the police chief.

They're under a lot of fire for the way they handled this. There is certainly an easy and benign explanation for the way they handled it. First of all, they're a small police force in a small city. We have heard from the police chief, for example, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who said the way major cities handle this kind of thing is with a demonstration of overwhelming force and proactive policing.

And once people who are demonstrating see that and understand what the outcome is going to be, they can contain the situation. That was not the case here. So, we will see. We will see how they handle that. But there's going to be a lot of tough questions coming forward here.

REGAN: Yes, certainly a lot of criticism for them. We will see how the police chief responds. And that's coming up.

MCKELWAY: Yes.

REGAN: Doug McKelway, thank you very much. We will be checking back in.

All right, stocks up 134 today, as fears of an imminent showdown with North Korea ease up and the White House ratchets up pressure on China to do more. Is it working?

Welcome, everyone. I'm Trish Regan, in for Neil Cavuto, and this is "Your World."

Kevin Corke is at the White House with the very latest -- Kevin.

KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Trish. Always nice to be with you.

And the president is talking tough on , this time talking about intellectual property. And as I take you to the pictures from here at the White House, let me just tell you, the U.S. has long suspected, and for good reason, that China has been guilty of intellectual property, let's just say, acquisition. OK?

And we're talking about reverse-engineering, replication and in some cases flat-out theft. And so the president today said that his administration would do what is frankly long overdue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We will enforce the rules of fair and reciprocal trade that form the foundation of responsible commerce. And we will protect forgotten Americans who have been left behind by a global trade system the has failed to look, and I mean look, out for their interests. They have not been looking out at all.

This is what I promised to do as a candidate for this office. And this is what I'm doing right now as president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CORKE: The president addressing obviously China's laws, policies and practices and actions related to the theft.

Meanwhile, concerns over North Korea and the crisis there, at least temporarily, appear to be easing a little bit. That's, I think, in part thanks to suggestions over the weekends by NSA's H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, that the U.S. is looking to exhaust all -- repeat, all -- options before taking a military one.

But I want to caution you with this, Trish. If you look at a calendar, you know that tomorrow is August 15. Well, technically, in Korea, it is August 15. And that's important, because that is National Liberation Day. It is celebrated both in the North and in the South.

And it's been suggested to me by some analysts that that might be prime time for Kim Jong-un to once again fire off a ballistic missile. We will see if it happens. But at least for now, there appears to be calm, and that calm appears to be positively affecting the markets, especially as traders and those who might be interested in figuring out just what the U.S. might get involved with appear to be taking the words of H.R. McMaster very seriously and hoping that things are cooling off a bit.

We will see.

REGAN: Let's all hope. Thanks so much, Kevin.

CORKE: You bet.

REGAN: All right, China says it will implement sanctions against North Korea in early September. They include blocking a billion dollars' worth of goods. That includes coal, iron or and other items. But is this enough? Are we going for enough?

Claudia Rosett is the foreign policy fellow at the Women's Independence Forum. And she joins me now.

Claudia, good to see you.

In your view, isn't there more we can ?

CLAUDIA ROSETT, FOREIGN POLICY FELLOW, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: No, there's a lot more we can do.

And China's agreeing to go along with sanctions is not enough. Look, China has approved every U.N. sanctions resolution on North Korea, seven of them in the past 11 years, since 2006. And China has not enforced them.

I don't think we're going to see a great deal more from China this time. They may enforce them briefly, but these sanctions tend to erode. The record is terrible. This instrument is blunt.

It's going to take more. I think what it's going to take is delegitimizing of the North Korean regime, trying to bring it down without a hot war. But, Trish, otherwise...

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: But we need China to help in doing that. I mean, isn't that the reality of it, Claudia?

ROSETT: No.

REGAN: We talk about a billion dollars' worth of sanctions. You're talking about a $28 billion -- estimated $28 billion economy. I don't know what good a billion dollars' worth of sanctions is actually going to do, especially if it's not enforced.

ROSETT: Yes.

And, look, this -- North Korea is not a place where the ruler is concerned about the welfare of his people. All he needs is the materials to keep himself going, his missile program and his military.

And the problem is, even if China helps to bring North Korea to the bargaining table, North Korea cheats on its deals, and China has a history of letting it do that.

REGAN: All right.

ROSETT: We have to actually ask the question, is China fine with North Korea having nuclear weapons? They let them develop them.

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: They may, in fact, be fine. But here's the reality of it, Claudia.

ROSETT: Yes.

REGAN: We also have allowed China effectively to cheat as well, because you look at the trade scenario, you look at the fact that they're stealing $600 billion worth of intellectual property from American companies every year, the fact that they jail a number of foreign executives, many American, on drummed-up charges.

ROSETT: Yes.

REGAN: All of these things, Claudia, are issues which we have kind of looked the other way on for years.

ROSETT: Yes, it's called kicking the can down the road.

And as a number of people have said, unfortunately, clearly with North Korea, we have really run out of road. They have abilities now that are very dangerous. This is a country practiced in nuclear extortion. They sell their wares. We should be very worried about Iran acquiring the same technology, if it doesn't have it already, from the North Koreans.

And, again, we go round and round in this merry-go-round, sanctions, bargains, sanctions, negotiations. Neither of those, unfortunately, is going to stop this. And nobody wants a hot war.

REGAN: Nobody wants that.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSETT: The question, the urgent question needs to be, how can we take down the North Korean regime preferably without a hot war?

And I would say attack the vulnerabilities of its brittle totalitarian system. Sow distrust between Kim and his lieutenants. There are things we could be doing that we're clearly not doing enough of. But China...

REGAN: Yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, clearly.

And, by the way, you're talking about sanctions, you're talking about economic ways to go about this, talking about ways to get China to influence North Korea. All of this to me, Claudia, looks like low-hanging fruit that nobody has bothered to touch.

Now you're seeing a little bit of a difference, a change in tone, President Trump coming out this afternoon and saying, look, enough is enough with China. And we need to start actually enforcing our free trade rules, because we haven't seen free trade from China, and it has cost Americans, has it not? I mean, North Korea aside, does it cost Americans their livelihoods?

ROSETT: Sure. Sure.

Intellectual property does matter a very great deal. Enforcing it makes great sense. Again, I think, in part, this may be something of a lever to try and get China to cooperate and help China with North Korea. This may help on intellectual property.

But I think, as a further lever to help with North Korea, it's a lever, if you like, a bridge too far. It might make a difference for a short time, but this North Korean nuclear threat has been simmering for a quarter-of-a- century. And we have been -- over and over, politicians don't really want to deal with it.

They find a way to muddle through and back away.

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: There's a lot of corporate interest in that.

China represents a very powerful, very dynamic market. And a lot of businesses want to be there, even if it's going to cost them in the way of losing some intellectual property.

ROSETT: Yes. Sure. Sure.

REGAN: They're making that gamble. They're making that decision to be there. And they don't necessarily want the U.S. government interfering in all of this and putting these restrictions on China.

It's so good to see you. Thank you, Claudia, for being here.

ROSETT: Great to see you. Thank you.

REGAN: I want to turn to the market right now, which had a terrific day, up 135 points, powering through, well, 22000 at one point, but, nonetheless, ending the day at 21993.

I'm here with stock market watcher right now Scott Martin.

And, Scott, as investors look at the North Korea situation and continue to bid this market up, what is it that you infer from that?

SCOTT MARTIN, KINGSVIEW ASSET MANAGEMENT: Well, it just goes to show you, Trish, that the market these days shoots first and asks questions later.

And, yes, last week felt terrible. But if you look at the S&P earnings, you look at the fundamentals of the market, and the fact that the economy has not fallen off a cliff yet, yes, it's slow, but it's still growing, shows you that the S&P can rebound.

And when cooler heads prevail, like they did today -- they are not going to stay this way, obviously -- the market does go up again. And that's why you're seeing prices rise.

REGAN: Do you feel that, fundamentally, things are good right now, that our economy is in a better state, that confidence is better, et cetera, despite these concerns abroad?

MARTIN: I think they're OK, let's say. I mean, lukewarm, you know? It's kind of 75 degrees outside in Chicago today. That's about where I would put the economy. Not really that hot.

But, Trish, President Trump needs help. He needs help from Congress to govern and get some of these policies through that are pro-business, that are pro-your 401(k) that are just sitting on the sidelines and getting delayed by the Senate as far as health care, and getting, frankly, delayed by the House and Senate with regards to finally getting a tax plan out there that we can all get behind and see help economies grow and certainly companies in the United States grow.

REGAN: It's pretty critical. Right?

In other words, this market is dependent, I think, on this idea of getting the tax cuts. Americans want to see a corporate tax cut, those that are invested, I should say, in the S&P and the Dow. They want that corporate tax cut. It's going to mean a lot to earnings.

So, if it doesn't happen, Scott, what happens next?

MARTIN: I think the market is in some trouble, Trish.

We mentioned how great these earnings have been. There's another side of that coin. In a couple of quarters, these companies are going to have to come out and report earnings vis-a-vis, say, a year ago.

So, you fast-forward to that period of time, and you are going to see these companies come out and possibly disappoint if they don't, say, get that corporate tax cut, as you highlighted, because we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. And you have got trillions overseas that will not come back to the United States because of the tax treatment.

That mean money needs to be treated better. It needs to come back to the United States for job creation, reinvestment, and stock buybacks.

REGAN: All right, well, we will take the good day today.

Thanks so much, Scott Martin.

MARTIN: See you.

REGAN: I want to remind you all that we're waiting on the press conference that is going to be happening in Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the chief of police there, who is going to be speaking for the first time since Saturday.

Of course, the police department has taken a lot of criticism. There was concerns that they didn't move quickly enough.

The president today specifically called out white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK.

I want to go to Kristin Fisher, as we await this press conference there in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the latest from the White House.

Hi, Kristin.

KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Trish.

Well, this was a very strong statement from President Trump. And it should go a long way to quell his critics. He explicitly named and condemned, in no uncertain terms, the white supremacists responsible for much of this weekend's violence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FISHER: Now, shortly before making those comments, President Trump landed at the White House from his working vacation in New Jersey, a brief day trip to D.C. to sign the executive order about trade and China.

But, first, for 30 minutes, he met with his attorney general and the FBI director, who briefed him about their ongoing civil rights investigation into the car crash in Charlottesville that left one dead, about 20 injured.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions described it today as a domestic -- an act of domestic terrorism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute. We're pursuing it in the Department of Justice in every way that we can make it, make a case.

You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation toward the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is an unequivocally unacceptable and evil attack that cannot be accepted in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FISHER: Well, and the man believed to be behind the wheel, 20-year-old James Alex Fields, was denied ball today in his first court appearance. He has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

And in his statement today, President Trump promised her family that justice will be delivered -- Trish.

REGAN: All right, thanks so much, Kristin Fisher.

So, will the president's comments today quiet his critics over the remarks he made on Saturday?

Here with me now, Rasmussen Reports' Amy Holmes and Washington Examiner's Jason Russell.

Good to see you both.

Amy, starting with you, some are saying, look, he should have said this earlier. Why didn't he?

AMY HOLMES, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: I understand the criticism of the president, and I share it.

I think that he should have led from the front, instead of behind, when it comes to what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. But I do appreciate the remarks that he said today. I don't think it will quiet his critics.

But something I would like to add about this, Trish, is, the reason it was important to have the president of the United States speak out forcefully and specifically against these KKK members, white nationalists, Nazi sympathizers, neo-Nazis, is that tribalism, violence and bigotry is all too close to the surface of even the most civilized societies.

And we need to be vigilant, both as president of the United States and as fellow citizens, to be trying to, you know, live up to our national ideals. And we do need leadership from the White House.

REGAN: Jason, how much does identity politics play into all this?

In other words, we're seeing this sort of eruption, if you would, of this division. And a lot of people say, oh, it's Donald Trump.

I just wonder if it's actually identity politics at the core of all this, when you think about all the redistricting that has happened over the last decade-plus in various municipalities and counties. And you have politicians playing to very specific particular groups.

Does that actually create an environment that makes it more likely for this horrible tragedy to happen?

JASON RUSSELL, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yes, I don't know if it contributes to it. But I think that your analysis is correct that we're actually -- we're absolutely more, you know, tribalized, I think, than we have been in the past, especially when it comes to politics and who our politics are trying to get votes from.

In the past, it was just try to get votes from conservatives and independents or Democrats. Now it's -- there's the white working class. There's a black middle class. There's a black lower class. There's, you know -- those kinds of groups are spread across so many different ways.

So, you're absolutely right that there's so much more polarization in that sense, that it's much more specific how politicians are attracting voters.

REGAN: It's interesting. Justice Clarence Thomas actually mentioned this back in 1994 in the decision of his opinion Holder vs. Hall.

And let me share with it all -- share it with you all. "As a practical political matter, our drive to segregate political districts by race can only serve to deepen racial tensions by destroying any need for voters or candidates to build bridges between racial groups or to form voting coalitions."

So in other words, this is some -- this has been lingering out there, if you would, Amy, for a while. And now we're seeing it erupt in a way that is clearly unhealthy and very detrimental, and the president coming out today and very specifically addressing that.

HOLMES: Yes.

And, as I say, I think it was important that he did. Of course there are political structural issues. You were mentioning gerrymandering, which mean that you have ever more politically concentrated districts where those politicians don't have to build a governing coalition, with the -- and reach out the other side.

We have seen that particularly in the House, where gerrymandering is applied, vs the Senate. But of course there's also American history and dealing with that history in order to move forward. As I mentioned, with these neo-Nazis marching around with the Nazi flag, my first reaction was, who are these moronic half-wits who think that waving around the flag of the Third Reich, an evil regime that thousands and thousands of Americans died to defeat, is somehow a sign of patriotism?

That, to me, is like waving around the sign of the devil and saying that you're pious. We need to confront this head on. We need to understand that, unfortunately, it can metastasize and it can grow if we're not clamping down on it very hard.

I was pleased to see Attorney General Jeff Sessions say that they're going after that young man who killed the woman, ramming the crowd. They're going after him, as well they should. We cannot allow that type of expression to stand in this country.

REGAN: Jason, did the police, in your view, do enough? Or should they have intervened far earlier to prevent this kind of situation from erupting in the way that it did?

RUSSELL: No, I think despite the tensions with the police and protesters of all races in the past few years, I think it's absolutely a failure of the police in this situation.

You had a clearly hostile, tense protest, and when the violence broke out, they weren't prepared to stop. Everyone has the right to peaceably assemble, but that right ends when that assembly turns violent.

REGAN: Yes. And they knew. They knew this was going to be a problem, Amy.

HOLMES: Certainly.

REGAN: They had tried to not allow this protest to take place. I believe they rerouted it.

It was going to be somewhere else originally. They knew that it could be problematic. But I don't know if anybody knew it could be as bad as it was.

HOLMES: Well, come on. Let's look at the organization. Let's look at the groups that we're dealing with.

And my understanding is that the way that it was routed was straight through the counterprotesters, without adequate -- we're seeing it on the screen right here -- without adequate buffers -- sort of buffers between the counterprotesters and the protesters.

Now, the protesters, whichever side they're on, they do have a First Amendment right to express their views and their values. But we also have a right to keep it from turning into this and from expressing our opposition to this...

REGAN: Exactly.

HOLMES: ... and from expressing our opposition to do this.

And I do want to add one more thing, though. Most Americans, they hated what they saw this weekend. When they looked at these videos, they thought it was disgraceful and they were ashamed of those people marching down the streets pretending that they were being a patriot, when we know they were against everything that we value.

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: Yes, 99.99 percent of all Americans that saw this watched with sadness, for sure.

HOLMES: Absolutely.

REGAN: I mean, this is not who we are. It's not who we represent.

And President Trump today -- and, again, maybe he could have said more earlier on. Perhaps that was a mistake on his part. Perhaps he wasn't as clear initially. But he -- he today came out very forcefully to denounce this.

Go ahead, Amy.

HOLMES: He did. He needed to.

And, you know, unfortunately, we understand that these groups are planning future rallies. I hope that the police in those instances are better prepared for what obviously potentially could be erupting in their city streets.

And I also hope that President Trump will take that opportunity once again to remind those people that they don't speak -- they don't speak for their right and they don't speak for America and they don't speak for America the president of the United States.

REGAN: Yes, absolutely.

Well, thank you so much, Amy. Good to have you here.

HOLMES: You too.

REGAN: Jason, as well, thank you.

I want to remind our viewers we're waiting right now on the chief of police there in Charlottesville, Virginia, who will be addressing reporters momentarily. We will bring that to you live just as soon as it happens.

And, as we have been explaining, there's been a ton of criticism about how the police handled this situation, and per our own Doug McKelway, there's some chatter there, at least amongst reporters there in Charlottesville, that he may be stepping down. We will see whether or not that comes to fruition.

But, again, I want to remind you, we're waiting on the Charlottesville, Virginia, chief of police.

And we will be back with that just after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REGAN: To the chief of police there in Charlottesville, Virginia, Al Thomas.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

AL THOMAS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA, POLICE CHIEF: I would like to take time to answer questions that you may have as well.

Before I begin, on behalf of every member of the Charlottesville Police Department, I want to take a moment to send our deepest condolences to the families of the three Virginia residents who lost their lives Saturday.

As you know, Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer was struck down by a vehicle while exercising her peaceful right to speech. The city stated earlier that while it will never make up for loss of a member of our community, we will pursue charges against the driver of the vehicle that caused her death and are confident justice will prevail.

The Virginia State Police Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper Pilot Bates were working with Charlottesville Police Department this past weekend to protect our community. These men also gave their lives in the line of duty and our gratitude to them cannot be overstated. Their loss is a loss for us all and we mourn with their families and colleagues.

We are working with the Heyer family to ensure the safety of vigils and other memorials that are planned for this week are safe. We plan to keep the Fourth Street crossover closed until further notice as there are thousands of flowers lining the street and that is the location of the crash site.

We are also establishing a hot line for any victims or witnesses to contact local authorities and provide information that may not have been reported during the weekend. We understand it was a traumatic weekend for everyone. We're still receiving reports of assaults and additional crimes.

And we're working with state and local partners to investigate thoroughly any criminal or civil rights violations that may have occurred this past weekend that have not yet been reported.

Throughout the entire weekend, Virginia State Police, Charlottesville Police Department intervened to break up fights and altercations among those in attendance at the rally site. This began on Friday night and continued through Sunday.

The city tracked approximately 250 calls for service on Saturday alone. In many of the conflicts, individuals would strike and disappear in the crowd. State police medics rendered aid to approximately 36 injured individuals Saturday, including several of the traffic crash victims on Water Street.

The early morning hours on Saturday, Virginia State Police and Charlottesville Police were positioned in and around and across the street from Emancipation Park in order to readily observe and monitor the actions of the crowds and respond as quickly as possible when emergencies arose.

There were also state and local police on foot patrols and at road closures at various locations throughout the parks, so we could respond to emergencies occurring beyond the immediate area of Emancipation Park. Law enforcement were staged at McIntire Park as well. You can see we had a very large footprint during this entire endeavor.

Around 10:00, Unite the Right attendees began arriving and entering Emancipation Park. We had a plan to bring them in at the rear of the park. They had agreed to cooperate with the plan. Unfortunately, they did not follow the plan. They began entering at different locations in and around the park and we had to quickly alter our plans to help facilitate that process.

Other groups also began amassing along the street and in the park. Gradually, the crowd sizes increased along with aggressiveness and hostility of attendees toward one another. Shortly before 11:00 a.m., individuals in the crowd began throwing objects and spraying chemical agents into the crowd. The city and county then made a declaration of local emergency.

The crowd size became increasingly violent with mutually engaged combatants, with one-on-one attacks following. An unlawful assembly was declared, and state police troopers began to safely move individuals out of the park and through the streets.

Charlottesville police officers were originally on site in their everyday uniform. We were again hoping that the members of the alt-right rally would cooperate with our safety plan of ingress and egress.

Once the violence began to erupt, we transitioned our officers into their protective equipment. We proceeded with organized response to ensure that we could safely restore order in and around the park.

No tear gas was deployed on Saturday by any law enforcement officers. There were a few incidents where the Virginia State Police deployed O.C., or better known as pepper spray, on those individuals refusing to comply with unlawful assembly declaration to leave Emancipation Park.

And I would like to take a moment, open the floor to questions, if you have any.

(CROSSTALK)

THOMAS: I'm not sure that information is credible. But, yes, we heard those rumors as well. No one has contacted us directly concerning other demonstrations in and around the state.

QUESTION: Why was the Fourth Street crossing open before 2:00 p.m.? It was supposed to be closed until 7:00.

THOMAS: I'm not sure whether or not the Fourth Street crossing was open.

I don't have the action plan with me currently, but I am certain that the action plan called for this route to be closed.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

QUESTION: Last month, for the Ku Klux Klan rally, we were here. You guys were there from the beginning. You were in the middle of the rally. You kept the two sides separate. Why did you take a different approach on Saturday?

THOMAS: Well, this was a completely different event from the rally on July the 8th.

The entire option -- action plan was different. We did make attempts to keep two sides separate. However, we can't control which side someone enters the park. We had agreements, and worked out a security plan to bring the groups in, in separate entrances.

Again, they decided to change the plan, and enter the park in different directions.

QUESTION: Chief, we have heard reports that police did not do enough to break up fights, that it appeared they were standing around, letting people duke it out. And some people have suggested they may have been intimidated by the firepower of the alt-right. Can you respond to that?

THOMAS: We were certainly not intimidated by firepower of the alt-right.

However, it was prudent to make sure that officers were equipped to go out and deal directly with the violence at hand. Originally, we had our officers out in their everyday uniform. We were hoping for a peaceful event.

We urged leaders from both sides to engage in a nonviolent demonstration. Once the violence erupted, once the plan was altered, we had to quickly transition our officers into their protective gear. Once the unlawful assembly was declared, we requested the state police mobile field force to deploy in their riot gear, and our officers took a position behind them at that point to guard their rear.

QUESTION: Chief, I witnessed personally dozens of acts of violence, people being assaulted and other general assaults as well with police officers in sight watching who did not intervene or help those victims.

Did you give any orders to the police officers not to help people who were being assaulted?

THOMAS: No.

QUESTION: At the point that it turned violent, why didn't you guys clear the streets completely? Why allow any protesters at that point to remain on the streets?

THOMAS: We did clear the park. And we had -- once the crowds were dispersed, they went to many locations throughout the city.

At that time, we had to actually send our forces to multiple locations to deal with a number of disturbances in and around the downtown area. We were -- it took probably an hour to gain control of the streets.

We had groups that were moving constantly. We were following a number of groups, ensuring that they were being peaceful. But it was a challenge. It was certainly a challenge. We were spread thin once the groups dispersed.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Was there any plan, decision-making, or thought process to say this might not be a good idea to let these people continue to march around the streets, knowing that these two sides were so agitated at that point?

THOMAS: Yes.

We have to focus on behavior and criminal activity, not just citizens walking in our streets.

QUESTION: Chief, Chief, this didn't end well. Do you have any regrets? And do you wish you would have come more prepared, so to speak?

In other words, you knew what was coming. You had met with them. You had a plan. You talked it out. Do you regret not having your officers better prepared and in their proper gear earlier, so they could have acted sooner?

THOMAS: Absolutely, I have regrets. We lost three lives this weekend. I have -- I have -- I certainly have regrets. We lost three lives this weekend, a local citizen and two fellow officers. We certainly have regrets. It was a tragic, tragic weekend.

QUESTION: Do you regret your actions and your decisions that day?

THOMAS: I explained what our regrets are. We regret this tragic day. We regret that we had a tragic outcome and we lost lives.

QUESTION: Do you believe that -- hi, Chief.

Do you believe that one side was more responsible than another for instigating the violence?

THOMAS: This was an alt-right rally.

QUESTION: Do you believe that they're the ones who instigated the rally -- the fighting?

THOMAS: We did have mutually combative individuals in the crowd.

We tried to be patient. We tried to give the individuals in the crowd who wanted to leave, we wanted to make sure that they were able to leave safely. We facilitated that process. We had a number of individuals who chose to remain and caused violence, caused disturbances in our community.

[16:35:05] QUESTION: Thank you.

We have heard from a senior law enforcement source in another county whose officers who were that in a briefing conducted here for law enforcement either Friday or Saturday morning that officers were instructed to make no arrests without the explicit approval of the Charlottesville mayor.

Our law enforcement source said that he was outraged by the instructions. Did you or the mayor or anyone on the mayor's staff instruct law enforcement not to make arrests unless approved by the mayor?

THOMAS: No.

And I would like to know who that officer is what allegedly made those remarks. That's simply not true.

Folks, thank you so much for your time.

QUESTION: What would you do differently next time, sir?

REGAN: All right. That was the police chief, Al Thomas, there in Charlottesville, Virginia, fielding questions from reporters.

He gave a list of some of the things that the police department did over the weekend to try and deal with this horrible tragedy there in Charlottesville.

One of the questions that he was asked by reporters is whether or not he had any regrets, to which he didn't really answer. He just said he truly regrets that day, and he blames this alt-right group for that tragedy that ensued.

I have got with me on the phone right now former FBI Assistant director Ron Hosko.

And, Ron, do you think that more could have been, should have been done? Did the police do what they needed to do, I mean, in light of what transpired?

RONALD HOSKO, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: You know, Trish, I think we will need a little bit more time to fully evaluate the police actions.

But, you know, what is true in the military circles is true in law enforcement, that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. And, here, we have the chief describing how they had an agreement with these protest groups on the right, and, almost immediately, that -- the expected response from the groups broke down, with them coming into this park from different directions.

And part of the plan has to be, you have enough resources to plan for contingencies. You have to expect things are going to break down. Things do not go -- they're not linear. They are going to go in different directions.

There are crowd dynamics that are important, and there are individual dynamics that are going to change during any event like this, an event when you had combatants coming in for the purpose of combat from both sides.

And I'm just not sure right now whether Charlottesville and Virginia State Police, with help from the county and others, had the resources to plan for all those contingencies, practice them and bring them into effect without people getting hurt.

REGAN: And what could they have done, what should they have done differently?

HOSKO: Well, it all starts with intelligence collection.

First, it is estimating how many people and really having a good understanding of, how many people we expect, do we have enough police officers here to maintain order and to keep our citizens who are not combatants, who are just observers or happen to be on the streets, do we have enough people to keep them safe, first and foremost, to keep our city safe?

It is really dependent on intelligence collection. It is getting into these groups, into their social circles and understanding what their intent is, what their force is going to be, what kind of tools they bring.

But I think one of the things that all of law enforcement across the country ought to be looking at today, and legislators, is, what do you do when people come armed for combat to these events? That is not lawful protest.

Is there legislation that ought to be contact -- or ought to be thought about that allows the police to arrest when you come with a helmet, when you come with a stick or a club or chemical spray or other weapons intended for combat? Is that enough to take you off to the side, put you in a detention area, and say you're in time-out for this protest? You're not going to do it in our town.

And I think we have seen this happen where...

REGAN: There's a certain intent that is implied, right, if you're coming armed with that kind of weaponry.

HOSKO: I think it -- that that's right. That's right.

REGAN: If you have got a helmet on, it shows you that you're anticipating a conflict.

HOSKO: I may have a racist sign, horrible language sprawled on a piece of cardboard, but the club that I'm holding it up with, or a mace, and have you see all kinds of folks swinging clubs -- you're playing it now -- swinging clubs, coming with shields.

This is intent for combat. And I think there's an opportunity for legislation. That, to me, does not look like the free exercise of our First Amendment rights.

REGAN: And, of course, the concern is that there may be more events like this. So, we need to be better prepared in these local communities to deal with them.

Thank you so much, Ron Hosko, for joining me.

And I want to go do Doug McKelway in Charlottesville now with more.

And, Doug, you could see there was a -- this may have, in fact, even been some of your questions there. But you could hear those reporters basically asking the police chief, are you going to take responsibility for what happened?

And he really tried to evade that, just saying how much he regrets that day. MCKELWAY: He did.

There were a couple little snippets of things where he sort of accepted responsibility. He said that they did take more proactive action after the state of emergency was called.

I want to know who specifically called for the state of emergency. I believe it was the governor, if memory serves correct. It may have been the mayor.

But I want to relay a question. It was the last question which was asked in the press conference. And it was asked by our field producer, Jason Donner. And I instructed him how to specifically phrase the question, because this is what we have heard.

Here's the question that he asked. We have heard from a senior law enforcement source in another county whose officers who were that in a briefing conducted here for law enforcement either Friday night or Saturday morning that officers were instructed to make no arrests without the explicit approval of the Charlottesville mayor.

Our law enforcement source says that he was outraged by the instructions.

Now, you heard that question posed to the police chief. He said, in response to it -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- I don't remember exactly what he said -- but he said, I would like to know who that law enforcement source is, because it's just fundamentally not true. It's categorically not true.

He denied it in every way, shape or form. So we have a conflict of opinion here.

I can say, having been in Emancipation Park from early on that morning, that what I saw with my own two eyes confirms what this law enforcement source told us, at least from all visible appearances.

We saw people coming out of the park who had head wounds, who were bleeding from the head. We saw people walking into that park with bats, with sticks. You saw what they were wearing, helmets, body armor. They had come -- and this pertains to both sides -- they had come to do damage.

And they persisted in doing that. You cannot help but notice from that video that, had police been more proactive, they could have potentially calmed this thing down to some degree.

We were standing just adjacent to a police staging area for the Virginia State Police. And one very kind Virginia State Police officer said, if you guys need to come in behind these police barricades, you're more than welcome to.

Later, about a half-an-hour later after he told me that, when the tear gas canisters started flying -- and you heard the police chief say they used no tear gas or a chemical irritant -- it was the protesters who used it. When they started to fly, I started to make a move for that cordoned-off area, the police staging area.

And the head honcho in that area, the Virginia State Police officer, said, no, don't come in here. And I said, why? He said, we're leaving. It's too dangerous.

At that particular point, I did notice -- and, in fact, they shot a video of it that we aired over the weekend -- you can see the state police officers filing out of there single file and making a beeline away from the demonstration, away from the fracases, not towards it.

The police chief made mention of that gathering just a little while ago, when he said that they made a retreat to put on riot gear. Why they weren't wearing riot gear earlier, given what you saw was coming into the park, people with bats, sticks, mace, canisters, all of things -- all those kinds of things -- I'm being interrupted right now.

But given what they were -- given what they were wearing right there, you would imagine that the police would have been better prepared at least in terms of what they were wearing and could have made a more aggressive attack.

REGAN: All right, Doug McKelway, thank you very much.

Let's get reaction right now from Congress of Racial Equality's Niger Innis.

Niger, Doug making the points that people were going in there with baseball bats and helmets and shields, and yet the police allowed it.

NIGER INNIS, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN, THE CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: It is horrific.

This is the United States of America, not 1920s or 1930s Weimar Republic, Germany, where you had groups of fascists and communists fighting in the streets of Berlin. And it's most important and it's actually quite reflective, Trish, of what a core representative told me in Virginia that - - over the weekend, that it was a group of outsiders from all sides that were coming there to cause trouble, to precipitate violence.

And we cannot allow that to happen. I'm deeply disappointed with wherever the order came from, be it from the mayor. I heard rumors that the governor was involved in this potential stand-down order.

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: Can I jump in there?

INNIS: They're rumors, obviously not confirmed. But I hope that this is a teaching moment.

REGAN: Why would anybody not want that arrest, though, Niger? You don't want this kind of conflict happening in your city, in your state. You want to enable the police to do their jobs.

INNIS: That's right.

REGAN: And if someone is walking in there with mace and a shield and a helmet and a bat, the police should be able to pull him aside and, hey, buddy, you're not going there.

INNIS: That's right.

REGAN: And so for anybody to give that order doesn't even make logical sense.

INNIS: It doesn't make logical sense.

But it happens, unfortunately, over and over again. Throughout the presidential campaign, there were times in this city, I believe, south of San Diego where a liberal mayor gave orders to law enforcement to stand down.

I wish I could remember exactly what city it was. It was a terrible tragedy. And it has happened before. And I hope this is a teaching moment to, regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, that this cannot be allowed to happen within our country.

REGAN: No, you need order in the streets and people should feel safe. And this kind of display of behavior is not what we stand for, is not who we are.

Freedom of speech aside, when you start going in there, and you have weapons that you clearly are intent on using, why else are you there with the baseball bat? Well, then that's just taking to it a whole other level.

Do you worry, Niger, that will there be more events like this because there is a sense on both sides they like the attention, the attention that this brings?

INNIS: Well, you know, I want to -- a lot of folk have been tough on the president. I want to applaud his second statement. I actually didn't see a problem with the first one.

But for him to make an even stronger statement and to stand above politics and those throwing sticks and stones, metaphorically, at him for partisan reasons and to act as president of the United States and to begin to heal our country, I think that is very healthy.

And, you know, let me just say that I'm a little disappointed. I certainly empathize with Mr. Frazier, the CEO of Merck, from stepping down from the manufacturers council. I think, actually, even if he wanted to protest the president's statement, it's better for him to have done so from the inside of a critical, critical council.

REGAN: Sure.

INNIS: The manufacturing renaissance that is beginning to take place within our country is the best solution for working-class blacks, working- class whites, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. At the end of the day, forget the extremists. We all want a good job, good wages and a hopeful future.

REGAN: All right, Niger, thank you very much for joining us today.

INNIS: Thank you, Trish.

REGAN: Iranians voting to boost their military spending, while shouting death to America. Exactly how is that Iran deal working out?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REGAN: So, how is that Iran nuclear deal working out right about now?

Iranian lawmakers chanting death to America as they unanimously vote to raise military spending so it can boost its ballistic missile program. All of this coming as Iran sends another drone close to a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier on the Persian Gulf.

You add all this up, and guess what? All the more reason, Michael Pregent says from the Hudson Institute, that we cannot trust Iran in this nuclear deal. He's here with me now.

You know, it feels like, as you look at what has happened in North Korea, you could easily see the exact same thing playing out in Iran.

MICHAEL PREGENT, HUDSON INSTITUTE: You can.

And thanks for having me on.

You can literally compare President Clinton's speech with President Obama's speech. When Clinton gave a speech on North Korea's program and President Obama gave a speech on Iran's program, you literally heard the same language. This will keep North Korea from becoming a nuclear power, same thing President Obama said.

And now, if you look at what Iran is doing, especially with this vote today, increase their ballistic missile technology, the funding for that, and also what they're doing with the Revolutionary Guard Corps, you have look at North Korea and look at Iran and say, will Iran be North Korea in one to 10 years?

REGAN: Well, it certainly seems possible.

And then you add in the fact that you have got some Islamic extremism there in that part of the world, and it becomes that much more challenging, Michael.

PREGENT: Yes, they're emboldened.

Post Iran-deal, Iran has been able to bolster up Assad in Syria, invite Russia into the Syrian campaign, further destabilize Iraq, further destabilize Yemen, and increase their presence in other places.

So, today's vote to not only increase funding for their ballistic missile, but also for their Revolutionary Guard Corps, should be concerning. We need to wait. We need to react now, so we're not looking at Iran as a 50- meter target five to 10 years ago.

(CROSSTALK)

REGAN: Is this a naivete? How does this happen?

How -- I look at what is going on with North Korea right now and I think, why didn't we do something earlier to prevent this? How did we allow it to get to this stage?

PREGENT: Well, I have read everything that Henry Kissinger has put out over the last 30 years on getting China to help us with North Korea, and even two days ago, he put something out in The Wall Street Journal.

And you have to look at him as the smartest guy on this. How do we get China do help us with North Korea? But if -- everything I have looked at, he's dependent on getting China to keep North Korea from getting where they are the last 30 years. So, we're almost to the point where the military option is the only option.

We don't want to be there. We certainly don't want to be there with Iran.

REGAN: You feel that way with know?

PREGENT: I want to err on the side that I'm wrong and diplomacy will win the day.

But it depends on China. But if we look at Iran through the North Korea prism, you see the same indicators. We need to make sure we're doing something now, because if we don't do anything, in the next one to 10 years -- I say one year because it could break out at any moment and become a nuclear-capable country. We need to pay attention to that now.

REGAN: So, we wouldn't pretend that this isn't their ambition, because it is their ambition.

PREGENT: It is exactly their ambition.

And, today, an Iranian general said there's no way the U.S. will inspect our military sites. And that's where they're doing the weaponization tests and processes for their nuclear program.

And we can't see them. This wasn't part of the nuclear deal. We're not allowed to inspect them. And we should insist on that. So, the National Security Council is looking at the Iran deal and re-looking it. And that is going to be one of the things that they are going to demand, that we actually inspect.

REGAN: So, how do we undo this now?

PREGENT: Well, you enforce it. You enforce it. You increase sanctions. You end these secret side deals. And you demand that you get in to see these military sites.

And if Iran says no, then you use international pressure. The one thing that the Obama administration believed is that Iran would walk away from the nuclear deal if we increased sanctioned. We have increased sanctions with the last two reviews and certifications of the Iran deal, and Iran hasn't walked away.

That means they need the Iran deal. So, we should be able to put more pressure on them to get in there and look at these sites, because, if we don't, we're looking at Iran being just like North Korea five to 10 years - - one to 10 years from now, with -- we don't want to be at the stage where the only options are military ones.

We want to get in there now to be able to look at things. And we hope that we have a China in this fight, at least a more productive China that we haven't seen yet with North Korea.

REGAN: China, how would that relate to Iran, though?

PREGENT: Well, you have to look at who can influence Iran.

At this point, Russia can influence Iran. We should be able to influence Iran. I don't know why we're hesitant. We should be able to do this. We have a $13 trillion economy. We should be able to pit that against our European allies and say, listen, better to invest in the United States than invest with companies that have Revolutionary Guard Corps percentage ownership, because that will put -- make you a target of the U.S. Treasury.

REGAN: That's one way to go about it, yes, more sanctions indeed.

Anyway, Michael, thank you very much for your insight. Very interesting.

PREGENT: And thanks for having me, Trish. I appreciate it.

REGAN: We're going to have more right after this. Stay here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REGAN: Stocks rallying, as tensions appear to be easing with North Korea, the Dow surging 135 points today, finishing just shy of 22000, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 also ending in the green.

Gold, it's a safe haven for volatile times, actually heading in the opposite direction, snapping a three-session winning streak.

Well, that will do it for me here today. You can catch me tomorrow on "The Intelligence Report" at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on the Fox Business Network, where I am every day. Let's hope it's another good market day.

"The Specialists," they're now.



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