Fox News's Chris Wallace presses Biden official on defunding the police

"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceYarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' NIH director expects booster shots to be expanded, despite recommendation MORE pressed a top aide to President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE about rising crime rates in the United States and asked him how calls from some progressives to limit funding to police departments may have contributed to that trend. 

Citing criticism of Biden this week from Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses MORE (R-S.C.), Wallace asked Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Questions on Biden agenda; unemployment benefits to end Sunday shows - Biden domestic agenda, Texas abortion law dominate Biden adviser: 'Full steam ahead' on .5T package despite Manchin warning MORE, a senior White House aide, if Graham had "a point" when the Republican lawmaker blasted Biden's policy on crime.

Graham said, "We have a lack of prosecution. We've declared war on the police, and that is backfiring on those who have done it."  

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"Sen. Graham doesn't have a clue," Richmond responded. "Let's talk about who defunded the police. When we were in Congress last year trying to pass an emergency rescue plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police, it was the Republicans who objected to it. ... They defunded the police. We funded crime intervention and a whole bunch of other things." 

Wallace pressed Richmond, who separately suggested a "plethora" of illegal guns on the streets are also contributing to rising crimes rates, telling the former Democratic lawmaker that even if Biden does not support defunding the police, a number of major cities in the U.S. have seen mass retirements in law enforcement and have slashed their budget allocations for police in recent months. 

"We were also in the midst of a pandemic," Richmond shot back. "You have to look at it in a very comprehensive approach. But, look, crime was down in the '90s when we banned assault weapons. It's time to ban assault weapons. ... You have to look at access to guns when it comes to fighting violent crime." 

Wallace cited a study showing that more than 90 percent of people who were arrested during rioting that took place amid protests following George Floyd's murder had their charges dropped.  

"Doesn't that send exactly the wrong message both to police and to the criminals who are being arrested?" Wallace asked. 

"The prosecutions that state prosecutors make in their charging decisions has to be analyzed by the people who live in those communities," Richmond said. "We have to remember here that it is about being smart on crime. ... That's not causing a spike in murders. ... That's gun causing that increase."