William Barr contradicts Trump’s claim that he went to emergency bunker during protests for ‘inspection’

‘Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended that the president go down’

James Crump@thejamescrump
Tuesday 09 June 2020 15:52
William Barr flatly contradicts Donald Trumps story that he was in his bunker for inspection

US Attorney general William Barr has contradicted President Donald Trump‘s claim that he visited the White House bunker for an “inspection,” amid George Floyd protests.

It was widely reported that on 29 May Mr Trump went down to the emergency bunker, which was created to keep the president safe, with his wife Melania and son Barron, when protesters loudly demonstrated outside the White House.

Mr Trump and his family were reportedly down in the bunker for around an hour, according to sources who spoke to CNN, in what the president claimed was a bunker inspection.

However, speaking to Bret Baier of Fox News on Monday, Mr Barr contradicted the president’s claim and confirmed that Mr Trump went down to the bunker because the Secret Service recommended it.

Mr Barr told the host: “On Monday we were responding to three days of extremely violent demonstrations, right across from the White House. A lot of injuries to police officers, arson,” he said.

“Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended that the president go down to the bunker,” the attorney general added, while referencing protests outside the White House.

Protests have taken place across the US, following the death of Mr Floyd, who died after his neck was knelt on by Derek Chauvin, who at the time was a Minneapolis police officer, but has now been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.

The protests, in opposition to police brutality against black people, started in Minneapolis, but quickly spread to areas in every state across the US, including outside the White House.

On Monday 1 June, Mr Trump left the White House to go to a nearby church, the St John’s Episcopal Church, for a photo opportunity, and protesters outside the gates were tear gassed and fired at with rubber bullets.

Last week, it was confirmed by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, that Mr Barr ordered the protestors to be dispersed, and the attorney general told Mr Baier that he made the order to move the protesters away from the executive mansion.

Referencing the president going down to the bunker, he said: “We can’t have that in our country. And so the decision was made. We had to move the perimeter one block. And that was what we were doing (on June 1).”

Speaking to Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends last week, the president claimed that his visit to the bunker was not arranged to keep him safe from protesters.

“It was much more for the inspection,” Mr Trump told the outlet. “I was there for a tiny, little period of time.”

Mr Trump claimed that he visited the bunker because his team said “it would be a good time to go down and take a look because maybe sometime you’re going to need it”.

The president told Mr Kilmeade that he had been to the bunker before and added: “I looked at it. It was during the day. It was not a problem ...There was never a problem”.

When asked to clarify, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told the Independent: “The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions.”

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