Transcript: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on "Face the Nation," August 30, 2020

Kentucky AG says he has ballistics report in Breonna Taylor case
Kentucky AG says he has ballistics report in ... 08:39

The following is a transcript of an interview with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron that aired Sunday, August 30, 2020, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to the Republican attorney general of Kentucky, Daniel Cameron. He joins us this morning from Louisville. Good morning to you.

KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL DANIEL CAMERON: Good morning, MARGARET. Thanks for having me on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks for joining us. You were at the RNC this week giving a full throated endorsement of President Trump. I want to ask you about something he did this morning when he liked a tweet from a supporter who wrote, "Kyle Rittenhouse is a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump." That's the 17 year old who shot three people, killing two of them in Kenosha this week when he took the law into his own hands. Is that the kind of law and order for America that the president endorses and you support?

CAMERON: Well, let me just say that I condone violence in all of its forms. I want to make that clear from the very beginning. I also want to address you know, during my speech Tuesday evening, I tried to make it very clear that as Republicans, we recognize those who in earnest want to make sure that there's peace, justice and equality in this country--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did you mean condemn, sir? 

CAMERON: I'm sorry, say that again.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said condone. 

CAMERON: Say that again please. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I think perhaps you misspoke when you said you condone violence, you meant you condemn it?

CAMERON: No, condemn violence in all forms. Absolutely, yes, ma'am.

MARGARET BRENNAN: During your speech, when you endorsed President Trump, you spent a lot of time talking about race and in particular comments that Joe Biden has made about black Americans that you found offensive, you said. Did you also find it offensive when President Trump tweeted last month a video of supporters of his yelling white power?

CAMERON: Well, look, what I was trying to articulate the other evening is that Joe Biden, the way that he looks at the Black vote, he looks at it as a monolithic vote. In my judgment, there is great diversity within the Black community. And Joe Biden doesn't seem to get that message nor understand it. And so what I was trying to say the other evening is that Joe Biden has taken for granted African-Americans in this country. And whether you are a Black conservative or a Black Democrat or moderate, I think it is wise to look at your options during this campaign and make an individual assessment--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

CAMERON: --of who will better serve your interests. That was what I was trying to articulate. And I think that President Trump, look, he fights every day for the American worker. I can honestly say I've known him for--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But on this specific- sorry. But on that very specific question of something he tweeted that- that your fellow Republican senator, Tim Scott, on this program rejected and before that has said in his view, President Trump does say things that are racially insensitive. To be clear, were you also offended when the president did this?

CAMERON: Well, I look again, I condemn any sorts of violence, any sort of racist rhetoric. I certainly recognize that this is a country that is ever growing and evolving. The Republican Party stands with those who welcome peace, justice and equality. I think just like your viewers, we can certainly tell the difference between those that in earnest want to make sure that there's peace, justice and equality in this country as opposed those that are trying to hijack this moment. Again, President Trump can speak for himself and voters get to make an assessment of him--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

CAMERON: --and president- Vice President Pence. So, look, I appreciate the way that President Trump has reached out to me, brought me into the fold in terms of conversations about law and order. We cannot have chaos reign in the streets.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I don't think anyone wants chaos reigning in the streets, sir. But we will have to take a commercial break and continue our conversation with you on the other side of it. So please stay with us. And all of you, please stay with us, because there's much more ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Let's pick up where we left off with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Glad to have you back with us. I want to begin asking you about where the Republican Party is right now in terms of this particular issue. According to our CBS News battleground tracker, eight in 10 Republicans think that there has been too much attention recently on the issue of discrimination compared to 44 percent of voters overall and 12 percent of Democrats. Do you believe that discrimination is talked too much about in our country?

CAMERON: Well, look, again, I will point back to the remarks I made on Tuesday evening where I talked about the Republican Party wanting justice, peace and equality, and we certainly recognize anybody who has an agenda that is consistent with those values. But again, like your viewers, we can certainly tell the difference between those that want those things in earnest and those who are trying to hijack a moment. So I think that poll probably indicates those within our party who recognize the legitimacy of those who--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I was asking about you if you agree with those Republicans who say it's talked about too much?

CAMERON: I think that we need to make sure that we have frank conversations about race and color and discrimination within this country. There's--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So no. 

CAMERON: -- again, the Republican Party has been founded on the idea of making sure that those are marginalized and vulnerable in this country have a fair shake.

MARGARET BRENNAN: As attorney general in Kentucky, you will make the decision as to what happens to those police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor. Why has it taken you this long? It's been five months. When you actually make a decision on whether to sentence them and charge them? 

CAMERON: Well, at- in the- Representative Deming's right before I came on and talked about wanting a thorough and fair investigation, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. That's what we've been conducting here in the Commonwealth. In part of my time in Washington, D.C. I met with the Department of Justice and FBI. We've got a critical component here as it relates to a ballistics report. There's no video footage of the incident in question and Miss Taylor's passing. And I can announce to you today as part of those efforts early this week, we have received that ballistics report. Now, again, that is a critical piece of this investigation. It's not the end all be all. There are still some witness testimony and interviews that have to be conducted. But we do have that ballistics report. We will be meeting with the FBI at the beginning of this upcoming week to have a painstaking review of that information. And that will help us in the analysis that needs to be undertaken before we can get to final steps. But just again, like Representative Deming said,--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

CAMERON: --we need a thorough and fair investigation, and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I'm curious as to what information you need specifically that you are hoping to learn from this ballistics. I just want to read from a letter that was written to one of the three officers terminated. It was from the chief of police to that officer. And it is scathing. It says, "Brett Hankinson displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor." He says the shooter wouldn't have even been able to know who he was firing at. Some of the rounds went into the apartment next door. It sounds like he was just blindly firing here. How is that not clearly a criminal action? What is it that you actually need to hear more than what the police chief has said himself?

CAMERON: Well, MARGARET, I don't want to get into the specifics. It is an ongoing investigation and I don't want to compromise it in any way, but be confident. And again, your viewers should know that we are looking under every stone, leaving no stone unturned as it relates to this investigation. Again, a thorough and fair investigation is what is deserved by all those involved. Look, as the attorney general, initially, this was not our case. We took this case because we have the resources internally to conduct a fair and thorough investigation. We've got career prosecutors and investigators with a wealth of knowledge and information that can undertake an independent investigation. We also have the strength of relationships with the FBI to receive this ballistics report and information that can be critical to our analysis.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we look forward to hearing an update from you now that you have that information. Thank you very much, Mr. Attorney General. 

CAMERON: Yes ma'am. Thank you.