Miami Herald

Gar­land says Capi­tol riot in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be top pri­or­ity

- BY KATIE BENNER AND CHAR­LIE SAV­AGE Crime · U.S. News · US Politics · Society · White-collar Crime · Discrimination · Politics · Justice · Human Rights · Law · Garland · United States of America · Oklahoma · Oklahoma City · Senate Judiciary Committee · Illinois · Republican Party (United States) · Iowa · Joe Biden · Russia · Donald Trump · Dick Durbin · Charles Grassley · Hunter Biden · City of Durham

Judge Mer­rick Gar­land on Mon­day said the United States faces “a more dan­ger­ous pe­riod” from do­mes­tic ex­trem­ists than it faced at the time of the 1995 Ok­la­homa City bomb­ing, and praised the early stages of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the “white su­prem­a­cists and oth­ers who stormed the Capi­tol” on Jan. 6 as ap­pro­pri­ately ag­gres­sive.

“I can as­sure you that this would be my first pri­or­ity and my first brief­ing when I re­turn to the depart­ment if I am con­firmed,” Gar­land told the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing to be attorney gen­eral.

Gar­land, 68, who led the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Ok­la­homa City bomb­ing, also vowed to up­hold the in­de­pen­dence of a Jus­tice Depart­ment that had suf­fered deep politi­ciza­tion un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I do not plan to be in­ter­fered with by any­one,” Gar­land said. Should he be con­firmed, he said he would up­hold the prin­ci­ple that “the attorney gen­eral rep­re­sents the pub­lic in­ter­est.”

Former Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump spent his term treat­ing fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors as ei­ther en­e­mies to be crushed or play­ers to be used to at­tack his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents, and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. and chair­man of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said in his open­ing re­marks that Gar­land would need to “re­store the faith of the Amer­i­can peo­ple and the rule of law and equal jus­tice.”

The rank­ing Repub­li­can, Sen. Charles E. Grass­ley of Iowa, pressed Gar­land on two po­lit­i­cally charged in­ves­ti­ga­tions from the Trump era, ask­ing whether he had dis­cussed with Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den what he would do with a fed­eral tax in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Bi­den’s son, Hunter Bi­den, and whether he would let John Durham, a spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Trump-Rus­sia in­quiry, fin­ish his work and then make any Durham re­port pub­lic.

Gar­land said he had not dis­cussed the Hunter Bi­den case with the pres­i­dent and ex­pected that “de­ci­sions about in­ves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions will be left to the Jus­tice Depart­ment.” He de­murred about the Durham in­ves­ti­ga­tion, say­ing that while he was com­mit­ted to trans­parency, he had not yet been briefed about its sta­tus and find­ings.

Gar­land also said he would rein­vig­o­rate the depart­ment’s civil rights divi­sion, which at­ro­phied as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion curbed pro­tec­tions for trans­gen­der peo­ple and mi­nori­ties, and barred poli­cies in­tended to com­bat sys­temic dis­crim­i­na­tion.

 ?? STE­FANI REYNOLDS The New York Times ?? Judge Mer­rick Gar­land, Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den’s pick to be attorney gen­eral, tes­ti­fies at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day.
STE­FANI REYNOLDS The New York Times Judge Mer­rick Gar­land, Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den’s pick to be attorney gen­eral, tes­ti­fies at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day.

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